Austin Dantin had a pair of interceptions against Western Michigan before leaving with a concussion. He is expected to play Friday.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
University of Toledo junior quarterback Austin Dantin suffered a concussion last Tuesday against Western Michigan but is expected to be back against Central Michigan on Friday, UT coach Tim Beckman said Monday at his weekly news conference.
Dantin was injured late in the second quarter against the Broncos and did not play in the second half. He initially was not diagnosed with a head injury on the field, despite Beckman stopping play to check on his starting signal-caller.
"I called that timeout right there before halftime, and it was because you looked out there and he wasn't right," Beckman said. "I probably should have taken him out right then and there, because he ended up throwing the interception right after that."
Sophomore Terrance Owens played the rest of the way and finished 22-of-27 passing for 318 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw one interception.
Dantin was 8-of-14 passing for 67 yards and two interceptions before exiting.
DEFENSIVE MELTDOWN: In its last two games, the Rockets' defense has surrendered 15 touchdowns. UT as a whole has given up 126 points in those two outings at the Glass Bowl -- a 63-60 loss to Northern Illinois on Nov. 1 and a 66-63 victory over Western Michigan.
In their first four conference games, the Rockets (6-4, 5-1 Mid-American Conference) allowed just 78 points.
"We've had people playing different positions. I know that has to have a factor in it, when you've only played that position for a short amount of time," Beckman said. "Excuse or no excuse, the biggest thing that we see that's happened the last two weeks is the tackling. Our tackling has not been to the par that it was previously."
Beckman also said some defensive players "may be trying to overdo things" because of other starters either playing new positions or being inexperienced.
"We can't have those types of things and be successful," Beckman said. "You do your job, and I think that's probably the biggest thing that we've talked about as a defense."
Senior Desmond Marrow played free safety for the first time in his career against Western Michigan, while senior Diauntae Morrow has started at the "star" position the last two weeks after playing free safety most of the season.
Freshman Keith Suggs shared time at cornerback -- Marrow's usual spot -- with freshman Kishon Wilcher, while a combination of sophomores Christian Smith, Jayrone Elliott and Ben Pike have tried to fill the void left by junior defensive end T.J. Fatinikun, who went down with a season-ending elbow injury against Bowling Green on Oct. 15.
"It's just kind of tough," Marrow said. "You've got people playing different spots, you've got people hurt. I mean, I don't think we've had our whole defense [together] the whole year, besides maybe [the season-opener] against New Hampshire."
RANCIFER BACK: Senior safety Charles Rancifer has been reinstated following a two-game suspension for an unspecified violation of a "team policy," but how much he plays Friday at Central Michigan remains to be seen, Beckman said.
Rancifer was scheduled to appear before a leadership council of players and coaches Monday, at which time he'd be afforded the opportunity to state why he deserves to rejoin the team on the field.
"How much he's going to play is based on what this team votes on and what this coaching staff votes on," Beckman said.
Last week Rancifer intimated on his Twitter account that his violation stemmed from a class attendance issue, although no official reason for his suspension was ever given.
Contact Zach Silka at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @ZachSilka.