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Rockets notebook: Greene a jack-of-all-trades

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Toledo's Dont Greene returns a punt 73 yards for a touchdown yesterday in Kalamazoo, Mich.

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Senior Dont Greene has become the University of Toledo's handyman.

He ranks second on the Rockets' all-time receptions list and is the team's second-leading pass catcher this season. Greene also is second in the Mid-American Conference in kickoff returns, seventh in punt returns and eighth in all-purpose yards.

Greene was back at it again yesterday.

He returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, caught a team-high eight passes for 70 yards and accounted for 213 all-purpose yards in UT's 42-21 victory over Western Michigan.

He finished with six punt returns for 113 yards and two kickoffs for 30 yards. Yesterday's punt return for a touchdown was the second of his career. He scored on a 78-yarder last year against Eastern Michigan.

“Coach [Jimmy] Williams and coach [Lou] West do an excellent job with the punt return set-ups,” Greene said. “Our blockers on the outside gave a clear path and I saw a clear runway for me and I took it.”

Greene has caught at least one pass in 29 consecutive games. He has 168 receptions in his career and needs just eight more in the final two games to pass Mel Long Jr. (175 catches from 1997-2000) for first place on UT's all-time list.

However, Greene has gone 116 straight receptions without a touchdown, a span of 25 games. His last touchdown reception came on a 19-yard pass from Tavares Bolden in the third quarter of UT's 35-14 win over Navy on Oct. 28, 2000.

READY TO RUMBLE: Rockets coach Tom Amstutz would love to play Marshall again in the MAC championship game.

If Marshall wins the East Division and Toledo beats Northern Illinois and Bowling Green in its final two games to share the West, that would happen.

However, the game would be played in Huntington, W.Va., and not in the Glass Bowl where the Rockets rallied from a 23-0 deficit to beat the Thundering Herd 41-36 last season.

“Yes, I do want to go back to Marshall, and if we do, I'm wearing boxing gloves,” Amstutz said, laughing.

Asked if he'd request the same officials that worked the Marshall-Miami slugfest last Tuesday, Amstutz said: “I love all officials. I am buying them all steak dinners. I think they are very nice people and I believe in all of their calls.”

FAASEN SITS: Junior Eric Faasen was a late scratch at right tackle and was replaced by junior Tim Dirksen.

Dirksen has been reduced to a backup role this season after coming off knee surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL suffered last Nov. 6 in a game against the Broncos.

Amstutz said Faasen had a stinger in his shoulder, but said he should be ready to play against Northern Illinois.

The Rockets also lost starting right guard Noah Swartz to a sprained ankle late in the third quarter - he was replaced by David Odenthal - but Swartz eventually returned.

QUICK HITS: With yesterday's victory, Toledo clinched its ninth straight winning season. Since a 4-7 mark in 1993, Toledo has compiled a 67-24-2 record. The Rockets also are 30-6 dating to the last three games of 1999. ... UT improved to 6-0 in televised games dating to the 2000 season. ... In the first half of the last two games, Toledo has outscored Western Michigan and Central Michigan 57-3. ... Linebacker David Gardner led UT with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery. ... Cornerback Brandon Hefflin picked off his team-leading fourth interception and has nine for his career. ... For the second straight game, Toledo didn't have a sack.

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