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HomeSportsUT
Published: 10/4/2010

Rockets' Dantin, Owens vie for QB job

BY ZACH SILKA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Despite getting benched in Saturday's loss to Wyoming, sophomore Austin Dantin is still listed as the University of Toledo's starting quarterback.

That could change this week in practice though, coach Tim Beckman said Monday, with the playing field now level between Dantin and redshirt freshman challenger Terrance Owens.

“We've said to both Austin and Terrance that they're going to compete this week, and then Thursday there'll be a decision to be made on who's practiced the best,” Beckman said. “[Dantin] is still our starting quarterback, but T.O. is competing to beat him out. That's the greatest thing about college football or any sport that you play. It's about competition.”

Dantin was 8-of-20 passing (40 percent) for 76 yards against the Cowboys, and the Rockets had amassed just 188 yards of offense before the coaching staff made the decision to lift him in favor of Owens with 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Owens immediately gave UT a spark on his second collegiate attempt, completing a 53-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Eric Page down the right sideline that set up the Rockets' first touchdown of the season at the Glass Bowl.

Owens finished 6-of-15 passing (40 percent) for 108 yards, but the Rockets did score two touchdowns with him behind center. They also totaled 179 yards of offense with Owens behind center, nearly equaling their production in the first three quarters combined.

“[Owens] did an amazing job when he came in,” center Kevin Kowalski said. “We all know what he's capable of.”

Owens said he's continued to get himself ready every week since the beginning of the season in case he was called upon, no matter his place on the depth chart.

“When Austin was named the starter, I always still prepared like I would be the starter, just in case Austin got hurt and I would have to step in,” Owens said. “I'm very comfortable being back there, but it comes down to practice [this week] and watching film and getting better and better.”

Even after leading the Rockets (3-2) to three straight road victories and demonstrating his abilities during training camp and spring practices, Dantin will nevertheless have to prove he deserves to be named the starting quarterback against fourth-ranked Boise State (4-0) on Saturday.

“It's the good and bad thing about college football,” Dantin said. “You have to prove yourself on a week-in and week-out basis, and at times proving yourself in a game isn't good enough. I'm just going to go out there and have to re-prove myself and show everyone again why I was named the starter and why I should stay the starter.”

NEW COMMIT: Kishon Wilcher of Detroit Cass Tech High was one of about 100 prospective recruits visiting UT's campus for the Wyoming game, and despite the loss, Wilcher still gave Beckman a verbal commitment to join the Rockets next season.

Wilcher is UT's fifth verbal commitment for the 2011 signing class and the third from Michigan.

Wilcher (5-foot-8, 160 pounds) is considered an “athlete” by recruiting services, meaning he could play more than one position at the next level. He's expected to play defensive back for the Rockets.

The son of Cass Tech head coach, Thomas Wilcher, who played running back at the University of Michigan, Wilcher has reportedly been clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash and ran a personal-best 22.03 in the 200-meter dash at the Michigan state meet last June.

Wilcher chose Toledo over an offer from Howard.

Per NCAA rules, Beckman is not permitted to comment on incoming recruits until they sign a national letter of intent.



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