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Strong running game staple of Rockets’ offense

09/07/2016, 12:18am EDT
By By BRIAN BUCKEY BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Trio remains in constant communication


Damion Jones-Moore has more than 1,000 rushing yards in his career with the Rockets. He is a senior. BLADE PHOTO

As part of a talented three-back rotation, University of Toledo senior running back Damion Jones-Moore knows he has to be ready on the sidelines at all times.

“You always have to be ready,” Jones-Moore said. “You don’t know when your number is going to be called and when they are going to need you and in what situation, so you always have to be locked into the game.”

Jones-Moore was the third running back to enter the game in Toledo’s 31-10 win at Arkansas State after senior Kareem Hunt started and junior Terry Swanson rotated into the game. Jones-Moore, however, was the most productive in his time on the field.

At 7.4 yards per carry in the game, Jones-Moore showed some burst as he rushed the ball 11 times for 81 yards.

Hunt was close behind at 78 yards on 17 carries and Swanson added 33 yards on 14 carries.

“First, you have to give all the credit to the offensive line,” Jones-Moore said. “They did a great job of protecting the quarterback and the running backs as well.”

The Rockets’ passing game headlined the win over Arkansas State, but UT coach Jason Candle said the strong running game is a staple of the offense.

“There were a lot of guys in the box trying to stop the run and I think that’s the heartbeat of our team,” Candle said. “We rely on that offensive line. Kareem Hunt, Terry, and Damion and those guys they get a lot of attention, so you’re going to get that eighth, ninth guy in the box quite a bit.”

With opposing defenses keyed in on stopping the run game, Jones-Moore said the trio of running backs are in constant communication throughout the game.

“When we come to the sideline, we are all talking,” Jones-Moore said. “We’re kind of all in the same game mode and seeing the same things and talking to each other, so we can definitely get into a rhythm.”

Each of the three backs has more than 1,000 career rushing yards. Hunt led the way heading into this season with 3,470 yards, Swanson had 1,655, and Jones-Moore 1,137.

With such a talented group, there is no sense of selfishness among the three-man rotation.

“That makes it that much better,” Jones-Moore said. “Everybody’s got that love for the game and that passion, so when you put that all together it just makes for one great rotation. We all gel together which is one of the best things. We are all pushing each other and giving each other pointers while we are out there on what we see and what we didn’t see or if we missed something.”

WOODSIDE WINS WEEKLY HONORS: Toledo junior quarterback Logan Woodside was named Mid-American Conference West Division Offensive Player of the Week after completing 23-of-31 passes for 371 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions against Arkansas State.

For his efforts, Woodside was also named Manning Award “Star of the Week.” The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in 2004 to honor the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton, and Eli Manning.

Woodside is one of eight quarterbacks in the nation to be named as a Manning Award “Star of the Week” this week.

College football fans can go to the Allstate Sugar Bowl Facebook page to vote for what they think was the best performance from this past weekend. When voting closes on Friday at noon, the top vote-getter will be announced as the Manning Award Quarterback of the Week.

Contact Brian Buckey at: bbuckey@theblade.com or 419-724-6110.

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Tag(s): College  Toledo