University of Toledo player Tuzar Skipper (99) and the Rockets take the field at the Glass Bowl at the University of Toledo. BLADE
University of Toledo senior offensive lineman Storm Norton has a unique view of the Battle of I-75 game against Bowling Green. This Saturday’s game against the Falcons at the Glass Bowl will be the fifth go-around in the rivalry for the homegrown Whitmer High School product.
“Being from around here, I’ve been around it my whole life,” Norton said. “I know what it has been about. Now going into my fifth year of it, I’m definitely pretty experienced in the whole thing, so I just know I can't get caught up in the hype and have to be prepared.”
After redshirting his freshman year in 2012, Norton has a chance, with a win, to beat Bowling Green in all five of his years in the program. UT has won six straight in the series despite Bowling Green leading the all-time series 39-37-4.
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Norton said the game his freshman season (2013) stands out to him, when Alonzo Russell caught a late touchdown pass and UT won 28-25 at Bowling Green.
“I remember three years ago we had that game-winning touchdown on one of the last drives,” Norton said. “I think every year has been special because we’ve been fortunate to come out with a win. That’s always our main goal in this whole deal, so we’ve been fortunate to come out with a win and we’re looking to do the same this year.”
UT junior linebacker Jack Linch, also a Whitmer graduate, said he remembers going to UT-BG games growing up as a kid.
“Growing up in the city of Toledo, it was always huge and I would always come to as many games as I could,” Linch said. “It’s always pretty special and now that I’m playing for Toledo and my family and all my friends can come and see me play, it’s really special now. It just means a ton.”
Toledo comes into the game after a win at Eastern Michigan in its Mid-American Conference opener and stands at 4-1 overall. Bowling Green is just 1-5 overall and 0-2 in the MAC after losing 30-24 last week at Ohio.
“The record doesn't matter,” senior Kareem Hunt said. “Those guys know how to win and they will give us our best shot. I’m excited to get out there and see what they bring to the table.”
Despite the Rockets coming in to the game as a 31.5-point favorite, the seniors who have been around the rivalry expect it will be a hard-fought game.
“Regardless of the records, if it’s Bowling Green and Toledo it’s going to be a good game,” senior safety DeJuan Rogers said. “They are going to come to play.”
Linch, who has played in all five games this season as a backup linebacker, has seen his playing time increase each of his years at Toledo and is looking forward to contributing more against the Falcons.
“It means a ton,” Linch said. “You want this team to win and anytime you can get in and help this team as much as you can, that’s my ultimate goal. Getting in and playing in this rivalry even more is a huge honor.”
Contact Brian Buckey at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6110.