After a long, and boring offseason without Toledo Rockets football it returns Saturday night vs. New Hampshire.
Head football coach Matt Campbell had Rockets fans biting their nails over the starting quarterback position for months. He finally decided to name Phillip Ely the starter Monday morning. Ely is an Alabama transfer who was the favorite all summer and throughout fall camp. During the press conference in which Campbell named Ely the starter he noted that Ely was "a great decision maker with the ball in his hands." We will all be keeping an eye on Ely during his first collegiate start.
Returning starters might be the greatest things the Rockets have going for them. With 18 starters coming back from last season (not counting Cheatham Norrils) including their top two leading tacklers last season Junior Sylvestre (118 tackles) and Chase Murdock (109 tackles), and offensive weapons like Alonzo Russell and Kareem Hunt the Rockets are gunning for the MAC championship this fall.
The New Hampshire Wildcats are a unique team to start your season against. Now the Wildcats are no Florida State Seminoles, but dating back to September 13th, 2004 the Wildcats have been ranked in the Top 25 in the FCS every week, that's a total of 140 weeks in a row. They enter this matchup ranked No. 4.
To put this in perspective, 2004 was the year that Eli Manning was selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft, Napoleon Dynamite was released in theaters ("give me your tots Napoleon!"), the No. 1 song was "Yeah" by Usher, Lil' Jon and Ludacris.
This year the Wildcats bring back Justin Mello and R.J Harris who both notched over 1,000 receiving yards last season for the Wildcats. They also bring back quarterback Sean Goldrich who only needs 222 yards to reach 3,500 in a career, and starting running back Nico Steriti who enters this season with 2,319 career yards rushing.d On the defensive side of the ball they have a three headed monster, defensive linemen Matt Kaplan, Cody Muller and linebacker Shane McNeely all have at least 96 tackles in there career.Last season the Wildcats had a tremendous season winning 10 games and only losing five. One loss came at the hands of Central Michigan on a last-second 27-yard field goal.
Now this will not be the first time that the Wildcats and Rockets have met on the football field. Toledo owns the all time record at 4-0, with games dating back to 1947. The most recent game was a blowout win for the Rockets in 2011 as they won easy 58-22.
The matchup to look forward to is the Rockets defensive Vs. the Wildcats offense. The Wildcats were ranked eighth nationally in first downs (329) as well as third in the CAA in both scoring (30.8) and rushing (192.9) last season. Can the Rockets D improve from last season in which they gave up close to 30 points a game? If the Rockets can get enough stops they could walk away with a win.
The game will be aired on ESPN 3; if you enjoy listening to the local radio broadcast WSPD 1370 will be airing it live through the internet, along with a few other radio stations.
Can it be kick off already!?!