Nevada and Miami, both great vacation destinations. But there is a world separating the two football programs.
A week after hosting the Hurricanes in one of the biggest games in Glass Bowl history, Toledo follows it up with a matchup against the Wolf Pack at noon Saturday. And while emotions, excitement and anticipation for both games won’t compare, the end goal for the Rockets remains the same — come out with a win.
Here are three keys for Toledo to defend home turf and send Nevada packing.
1. Avoid the hangover. Let’s say you spent last week test driving a Porsche. You hugged the turns, let the engine breathe, had a blast in one of the world’s best automobiles. And now this week, it’s back to driving your Toyota Camry. There’s nothing wrong with the Camry; it’s a darn fine car. But it’s not a Porsche. That’s what Toledo is facing this week. The Rockets can’t loose sight of this week while thinking about last week. Nevada is a winnable game for the Rockets, but only if they can focus on the task at hand.
Nevada running back Toa Taua celebrates his first quarter rushing touchdown against Oregon State during Saturday's game in Reno, Nev.
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2. Get up early. That’s exactly what Nevada will be doing. Coming from Reno, Nevada, the Wolf Pack are all on West Coast time, so Saturday’s noon start in Toledo will feel like 9 a.m. to them. And getting to the stadium a few hours before that for warmups? Could be brutal. Toledo needs to step on the gas pedal from the opening whistle and not let up. The Rockets would be well advised to land a few haymakers before the Wolf Pack even has a chance to wake up.
Toledo's Diontae Johnson scores the first Rockets touchdown in the first half against Miami during Saturday's game at the Glass Bowl in Toledo.
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3. Let it fly. Rockets quarterback Mitch Guadagni has passed his first few tests, and while he’s not a seasoned veteran yet, we know more than enough to say he’s going to fit in just fine to his starting role. It doesn’t hurt that he has one of college football’s finest collection of wide receivers to catch his passes and make plays. Diontae Johnson was named the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week after catching six passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns against Miami. Throw in Cody Thompson and Jon’Vea Johnson, and the Rockets can make the cannon boom against a Nevada defense that allows 323 passing yards per game.
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