The Rockets have not had an easy path to navigate, have they? They traveled 4,000 miles round trip to start the season, afflicted by dry heat and a ridiculously late bed time of which this reporter only recently recovered. When they again headed west one week later, their breathing was disrupted by an altitude of more than 7,000 feet above sea level. They couldn't catch their breath when they returned home -- metaphorically -- because a rivalry game awaited.
Much can be gleaned about a team that handles such travails with aplomb, and nothing that occurred in the first three weeks suggests Toledo -- an overtime loss from traversing that minefield unscathed -- is an imposter of the team pegged to make a run at the Mid-American Conference title.
What will be judged against Coastal Carolina is how this team responds when it is supposed to dominate, when it's not fueled by adversity brought on by a succession of rigorous games. Sandwiched by critical league tilts against Bowling Green and Western Michigan, an opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision epitomizes a trap game. Under inspection will be this team's maturity and leadership. An uninspired effort -- or worse, a loss -- would be as concerning as the first three weeks were encouraging.
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