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HomeSportsUT
Published: Saturday, 9/13/2008

2 losing streaks on coach s mind

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

YPSILANTI, Mich. University of Toledo coach Tom Amstutz has a short to-do list for his team this weekend.

I want to win, Amstutz said. That s it.

UT has lost three games in a row dating to last season, when it dropped its final two games to Ball State and Bowling Green. The Rockets also haven t won a road game since Nov. 7, 2006, at Northern Illinois, a drought five games long.

They can break both losing streaks at noon today at Rynearson Stadium against Eastern Michigan. UT is 0-1 after a season-opening loss to Arizona last week.

The loss motivates people, defensive lineman Sean Williamson said. Everyone seems to move a little better.

EMU is 1-1, with a win over Indiana State and a loss to Michigan State last week. The Eagles beat the Rockets two years ago in Ypsilanti for their only win in the series in the last eight years.

Playing our first two opponents, it s hard to gauge exactly where we are, EMU coach Jeff Genyk said. Coming off a good win against Central Michigan at the end of last year, you d like to know that you have a feel for your team after two games. Because of the varying degrees of competition, we still are not quite sure. We should have a great feel Saturday at 4 p.m.

Amstutz said he feels the same way after his team gave up 452 yards of offense to Arizona.

We ll find out a lot more about our team when we play a conference game against an evenly matched program, Amstutz said.

The Eagles start junior Andy Schmitt at quarterback. Schmitt played some last year against UT in the Rockets 52-28 victory. This year he has completed 60.5 percent of his passes for one touchdown and no interceptions.

EMU running back Terrence Blevins leads the MAC with a 7.7 yards-per-carry average. Blevins, a senior from Detroit, had two touchdowns in the season opener against Indiana State but was held out of the end zone last week against Michigan State.

I think probably two pretty similar football teams are going to play against each other, Amstutz said. Their quarterback is a 60 percent-plus pass-completion guy who can throw the ball well and run. Their tailback is a good football player. He had a 40-yard run against Michigan State that showed his speed.

It s going to be a really interesting test for us. It s a really important game since it s a league game.

UT s offense didn t have a fast start last week, but Genyk said EMU has to show the Rockets some respect. Selling out on blitzes too many times will cost them, he said.

You have to be patient against Toledo. You have to realize you re not going to get tackles for loss, Genyk said.

Holding them to 1-2-yard gains is a victory for you defensively.

They do a very good job of zone blocking, letting their running backs be very patient waiting for the hole to open. We have to tackle well. That s going to be our top priority for us to have a chance to win.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:|mfulton@theblade.comor 419-724-6160.



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