It was hard for Austin Dantin to put into words just how disappointed he was Monday when talking about the injury that may end up costing him the rest of the regular season.
The University of Toledo sophomore quarterback suffered a separated left (nonthrowing) shoulder three minutes into Saturday's 42-7 win at Eastern Michigan, and he will be sidelined at least 2-3 weeks, according to coach Tim Beckman.
Dantin said X-rays taken of his shoulder Saturday showed no fractures, but since he was still experiencing a lot of pain near his sternum and collarbone, UT medical personnel advised him to get a CT scan done Monday morning.
Results of the test weren't known when Dantin spoke with the media Monday.
“The X-ray showed a couple areas of concern, so that's another reason why I got the CT scan,” Dantin said. “They're not exactly 100 percent sure [of the exact nature of the injury], except they know for sure I have a separated shoulder.”
Although nobody knows how long Dantin will out at this point, he will definitely miss the Nov. 9 showdown at Northern Illinois (7-2, 5-0 Mid-American Conference), which will likely decide who wins the MAC West Division and advances to the MAC championship game at Ford Field on Dec. 3.
Knowing how huge this game is for the Rockets (6-3, 5-0) makes sitting out that much tougher, Dantin said.
“It's a terrible feeling knowing that I'm not going to be able to play,” he said. “Our goal is to win the MAC, and when it comes down to two undefeated teams, it's exactly what you want as a competitor. Just to know I can't be out there with the team, it hurts.”
Dantin, who's listed at 6-2, 189 pounds, has had to be helped off the field three times this season — once on a stretcher after suffering a concussion at Boise State on Oct. 9 — after taking hard hits on runs up the middle.
Unlike most quarterbacks, Dantin chose to duck his head and absorb the contact from much bigger players on each of the plays where he was injured.
“I have to stop,” Dantin said with a laugh. “People have been telling me since high school that I have to stop. It's something I guess I have to start practicing more so I can do it in games, because I was joking with the guys that I have the heart of a fullback and the body of a quarterback. Something has to give. Either I have to put on a lot of weight or I have to start playing a lot smarter.”
Dantin's newest injury opens the door for redshirt freshman Terrance Owens to make his first career start against the Huskies next week.
Owens threw four touchdown passes in relief of Dantin last weekend and has shown he's a more than capable fill-in behind center.
“In the Eastern Michigan [game], I knew I had to step up,” Owens said, “so next week, I'm just going to have to step up and do the same thing. As long as the players are behind me and the coaches are behind me, then I can get the job done.”
PENZA HONORED: Redshirt freshman punter Vince Penza was named MAC West special teams player of the week.
Penza averaged 40.6 yards on five punts against the Eagles, and only one of his five punts was returned — for minus-three yards.
“Vince has really stepped into a role that he was competing for with Bill Claus,” Beckman said, “and then we had injuries to both kickers and now Bill's got to be our kicker. We didn't feel he could do both, so I'm very proud of the way Vince has been punting.”
Contact Zach Silka at: email@example.com or 419-724-6084.