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UT seeks reversal of fate

Rockets have lost 5 straight openers


Gold Team player Adonis Thomas, 24, breaks through the line for a touchdown during the first quarter of the University of Toledo Spring Football game at the Glass Bowl, Friday, April 15, 2011.

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Opening day is a time for optimism and grandiose visions for the rest of the season.

Yet for the University of Toledo football team, season-openers have produced plenty of disappointment and pessimism in recent years, especially when they're played at home.

Last year Arizona thumped the Rockets 41-2 at the Glass Bowl in Week 1, and four years ago Purdue put a 52-24 whooping on UT on its home field.

In between, the Rockets opened their season on the road at Arizona in 2008 and at Purdue in 2009, and were beaten by a combined score of 93-52 in those two contests.

The last time Toledo won its season-opener was in 2005, when the Rockets handily defeated Western Illinois 62-14 at the Glass Bowl.

UT hopes to get back to its winning ways Thursday when it opens its season at home against New Hampshire at 7.

"We haven't won a home game [in Week 1] in five years, and that's something that we have to bring back," said UT junior quarterback Austin Dantin, who will take the first snap against New Hampshire but will also split time with sophomore Terrance Owens and possibly redshirt freshman Dwight Macon.

"The Glass Bowl is our home, and we have to keep it that way and not allow people to come in here and walk all over us," Dantin added. "We have to put the fear back into the people that come here."

That message of starting the season on a high note has been drilled into the Rockets since the start of preseason practices.

POSITION BATTLES: Senior Ryan Casano, who suffered a torn ACL last season, will serve as the placekicker tonight, while freshman J.D. Detmer will handle the kickoffs, Beckman said.

In addition, sophomore Matt Wall has been put on scholarship after beating out senior Colin McHugh at long snapper. The battle at wide receiver will go right up to kickoff, when either Illinois transfer Cordale Scott or senior Kenny Stafford will start alongside junior Eric Page and sophomore Bernard Reedy.

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