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Published: Sunday, 9/13/2009

University of Toledo's Page adds chapter

UT wide receiver Eric Page hauled in three catches for a team-high 138 yards and a touchdown in a rout of Colorado. UT wide receiver Eric Page hauled in three catches for a team-high 138 yards and a touchdown in a rout of Colorado.

In his postgame comments last week at Purdue, University of Toledo coach Tim Beckman said he was impressed with wide receiver Eric Page's collegiate debut, but added that he wanted to see more from the freshman.

How about this for an encore?

The Springfield graduate reeled in three catches for a team-high 138 yards and one touchdown in the Rockets' stunning 54-38 rout of Colorado (0-2) Friday night at the Glass Bowl.

"I don't know what else there is to say," UT senior quarterback Aaron Opelt said of Page. "He's a beast. He's good. He makes plays when he has to. He's elusive. He catches the ball every time, and I'm just proud of him. He played real tough for being a freshman."

Opelt connected with Page on UT's sixth play of the game for a 60-yard completion that gave the Rockets the ball on Colorado's 14-yard line.

Streaking down the right seam, the 5-foot-10 Page went up over a Colorado defender to make the impressive grab.

"He got back behind the secondary, which was what we were looking to do all week," said Opelt, who finished with a career-high 428 all-purpose yards (319 passing, career-high 109 rushing) for the third most yards in a single game in school history.

"It was a great opportunity for us to go up top, and he made a great play on it. I may have underthrown it a little bit for him, but he still went up and made the catch over a tall corner."

Two plays later, Opelt found tight end Danny Noble in the end zone with an 8-yard pass to give UT a 6-0 lead with 7:18 left in the first quarter.

On UT's next possession, Opelt found Page again, and this time with a plenty of space to work with at midfield, he scampered 70 yards untouched across the goal line.

The score put the Rockets ahead 13-0 after Alex Steigerwald's PAT with 3:00 remaining in the opening quarter. It was also the longest TD reception for UT since Nick Moore had a 70-yard catch against Western Michigan in 2007.

With senior wideout Stephen Williams hampered for must of the contest with a shoulder injury, Beckman said it was key for somebody in the receiving corps to fill his shoes.

After hauling a UT single-game freshman-record 12 catches last week against Purdue, Page once again proved to be that guy for the Rockets (1-1).

"Eric has had to step up the last two weeks, and he's done an exceptional job," said Beckman, who did not make Page available for comment after Friday night's game because he does not permit freshman to speak with the media.

"He's a young man that's [17] years old [but] plays older than he is. He plays the game with all his heart, and that's the most impressive thing that I've seen as his head football coach - how hard he plays and how he can take hits and jump right back up."

The coaching staff employed Page mostly as a possession receiver against Purdue, but Friday night he showed his talent as a deep threat as well.

"He has the speed and quickness to do both. He can beat you in the middle or beat you deep," said Beckman, who added that Page may see time as a kick returner as well in the coming weeks.

"I think we have to utilize Eric in a bunch of different ways."

Contact Zach Silka at:


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