As the University of Toledo football team returns home to the Glass Bowl, first-year head coach Jason Candle says he is treating this game just like any other.
Candle will coach in front of a UT home crowd for the first time when the Rockets take on Maine today in the team’s home opener.
“It will be great to be in front of our fans, but for me it’s just another week and another chance to go out there and get better,” Candle said. “It is certainly not about me. It’s about this team getting going and trying to get one week better as we progress on and try to march on to our ultimate goal.”
Toledo will welcome the Black Bears from the Colonial Athletic Association of the FCS, a team coming off a 24-21 defeat at the University of Connecticut. The Rockets opened with an impressive 31-10 win at Arkansas State.
Despite taking on an FCS opponent, Candle said the team is extremely focused and ready to face a team looking to prove they can compete against larger programs.
“You are not going to get the Toledo Rockets to underestimate any opponent that comes into this stadium,” Candle said. “We watch the game film, we pick it through, we comb it out and we pay attention to the details. There are going to be some guys on our team that have a tougher challenge than they did last week in that football game, that’s just the way college football is.”
In Maine’s loss to UConn, quarterback Dan Collins passed for 269 yards and two touchdowns and Jaleel Reed hauled in eight catches for 169 yards and a score.
“Their quarterback throws a lot of good balls, squeezing them into zone coverage,” senior safety DeJuan Rogers said. “So we have to play tight defense.”
In the season opener at Arkansas State, junior quarterback Logan Woodside led the UT offense, completing 23 of 31 passes for a career-high 371 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Toledo will face an aggressive Maine defense.
“I think they’ll come out and play really hard,” Woodside said. “Watching a lot of film on them, they definitely play really hard. We have to be locked in and just go out there and execute like we did last week and come out and get a win.”
Candle expects Maine to test the UT defense, which held Arkansas State to just 266 yards of total offense.
“They have some skill players on offense that will challenge our guys,” Candle said. “It will be more of a vertical passing game this week probably than last week and our guys in the back half will certainly have to do a good job of locking down a couple pretty good receivers. We have to find a way to affect the quarterback like we always plan on doing and we’ll see how it turns out.”
After losing its final two home games of last season to Northern Illinois and Western Michigan, Toledo is ready to get back and show the home crowd what they hope is a new and improved team.
“It’s going to be good, because the last two times we played at the Glass Bowl we didn’t win,” Rogers said. “So we owe it to the people of the community to come back out here and show them that this is not the same team.”
Contact Brian Buckey at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6110.
MAINE at TOLEDO
■ Time: 7 p.m.
■ TV: ESPN3
■ Radio: 1370 AM
■ Series: First meeting
■ Notes: Toledo is 21-2 against Football Championship Subdivision teams since 1978. ... Rockets running back Kareem Hunt now has 3,548 career rushing yards, moving past Trinity Dawson into third place on UT’s career rushing list. ... Hunt trails only Chester Taylor (4,849 yards) and Wasean Tait (4,338 yards). ... UT quarterback Logan Woodside threw for a career-high 371 yards and three TDs without an interception in a 31-10 win at Arkansas State. ... Woodside was named MAC West Division Player of the Week. ... UT held Arkansas State to 266 total yards and 13 first downs. ... Maine is 3-3 against MAC teams with all six meetings coming against Buffalo. ... Maine first-year coach Joe Harasymiak is the youngest Division I head coach at 30. ... The Black Bears return 43 lettermen (18 offense, 23 defense, 2 specialists) from its 2015 team that finished 3-8 overall and 3-5 in the Colonial Athletic Association. ... Dan Collins passed for 269 yards and two touchdowns in a week one loss to UConn (24-21). ... Wide receiver Jaleel Reed caught eight passes for 169 yards and a TD against UConn.
University of Toledo football coach Jason Candle will coach his first game at the Glass Bowl. BLADE PHOTO