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Toledo vs. Eastern Washington 2013: Preview

After Toledo spent the first two weeks of the season in SEC country, he Rockets head home to take on a dangerous Eastern Washington team.

The Rockets will have to slow down Eagles' starting QB Vernon Adams this weekend if they want to win.
The Rockets will have to slow down Eagles' starting QB Vernon Adams this weekend if they want to win.
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles of Eastern Washington aren't your prototypical Football Championship Subdivision team. After an 11-3 season last year, the Eagles turned around and defeated the No. 25 in the nation, Oregon State 49-46, in Week 1. The win helped Eagles soar to a No. 2 ranking in the FCS polls. Following the monumental victory, EWU then romped Division II Western Oregon 43-14.

Quite simply Eastern Washington is dangerous, even if the team's FCS level makes some overlook them.

But Matt Campbell and the Toledo Rockets won't mind facing an FCS school after back-to-back weeks against SEC opponents. The punishing schedule of the Rockets has them sitting with an 0-2 record after losing 24-6 to Florida, and 38-23 to Missouri in the first two weeks.

Financially, the Rockets are paying the Eastern Washington program $325,000 to face them this weekend at the Glass Bowl. That $325,000 is a lot less than the $475,000 that the Oregon State Beavers paid the Eagles, to ultimately lose to them. The win against No. 25 Oregon State has given the Eagles back-to-back seasons in which they have defeated an FBS opponent, opening up with a 20-3 victory against Idaho in the 2012 campaign.

Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin knows playing Toledo will present a challenge for his Eagles. "It's a test, a true test," he said. "They are a very quality opponent, and a team that wins eight or nine games each season at an FBS level."

Vernon Adams is the leader of the Eagles potent offense. Adams is the early FCS pass efficiency leader with a 76% completion percentage, 709 yards, and nine touchdowns this season, including five last week against Western Oregon. Defensively, another player to watch is Allen Brown, who has two interceptions in the Eagles' first two games of the season.

For Toledo, despite back-to-back losses against two SEC opponents, the team has showed several encouraging signs. Senior running back David Fluellen was able to rush for 111 yards against Missouri and also added a career-best ten receptions. Along with Fluellen, the young Toledo defense also showed improvement against the Tigers allowing 384 yards of total offense for the game. Before a poor fourth quarter defensive showing, the Rocket defense allowed just 205 yards of offense to Mizzou, along with shutting down the Missouri run game.

Something else to be on the lookout for is Toledo senior placekicker, Jeremiah Detmer who has converted 22 consecutive field goals. Detmer connected from 24, 46, and 41 yards against Missouri. Alex Steigerwald still holds the Toledo consecutive field goal record of 23 from the 2007-08 season. The NCAA record is 30 held by Washington's Chuck Nelson (1981-82).

Toledo has put Florida and Missouri on upset alert in their first two games, but now it's the Rocekts' turn to prove they will not be upset at home by Eastern Washington. You can watch the game live on and on ESPN-Game Plan. Kickoff is set for 7 pm.