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Published: Saturday, 10/8/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Rockets not looking past E. Michigan

BY ZACH SILKA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

If the University of Toledo has learned anything from its controversial start to this season, it's not to take anything for granted.

The Rockets have been jobbed in losses to Ohio State and Syracuse, and even last year against Florida International in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

So if there's any team that shouldn't fall victim to a "trap game," it's Toledo, which faces Eastern Michigan at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Glass Bowl.

"This football team has been on as big of [an emotional] roller coaster as I've ever been around since I've been involved in football," UT coach Tim Beckman said. "To have a chance to beat Ohio State ... and then play Boise pretty decently and then out of nowhere get a win taken from you [at Syracuse], I've never heard of that in college football."

The Rockets (2-3, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) know they can't get caught looking ahead to next week's rivalry game at Bowling Green State University.

"Last year we were one game away from going to the MAC championship [game]," UT junior quarterback Austin Dantin said. "We know how important every game is and we know how this conference is with every opponent. It's going to be a challenge every week."

Eastern Michigan (3-2, 1-0) also knows it'll be faced with a stiff test.

Dantin was a very efficient 12-of-14 passing for 115 yards and one touchdown while playing the entire game behind center in UT's 36-13 victory at Temple last week. Senior running back Morgan Williams was also effective while rushing for 121 yards and one touchdown.

"We have to be patient and know they're going to move the ball," Eastern Michigan coach Ron English said. "When you play an offense like Toledo's, you can't get discouraged by them moving the ball because they're going to do that."

The Eagles counter with the top rushing attack in the MAC, statistically. They average 233 yards per game on the ground, led by sophomore running back Javonti Greene (379 yards).

Junior running back Dominique White led the way last week with 164 yards and three touchdowns in Eastern Michigan's 31-23 win over Akron, but English wasn't so sure his team will be able to have its way in the run game against UT.

"We're going to have to make some plays in the air," English said. "I don't know if we're going to be able to run the ball as much as we've been running it. I think we're going to have to throw it a little bit."

Eastern Michigan junior quarterback Alex Gillett has completed just 51 percent (44-of-85) of his passes this season, but can beat teams with his legs. He's rushed for 295 yards and two scores through five games.

"They like to run the ball, and we like that challenge," UT junior linebacker Robert Bell said. "Last week with Bernard Pierce and Temple, we had to stop the run first and make them pass the ball. We'll try to do that again [Saturday]."

Contact Zach Silka at: zsilka@theblade.com, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @ZachSilka.


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