2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Toledo Offense
The pass protection needs to be stronger. The line wasn’t up to its normal snuff last year, allowing 30 sacks after giving away just 22 the year before and 14 in 2016.
The 80 tackles for loss allowed weren’t much better after not hitting the 70 mark for a few years and allowing just 40 in 2015.
Just two starters are back, but they’re good ones in left tackle Cameron Bell and center Bryce Harris. More production is needed, though. from the young group of former backups pushing for time.
Biggest Key To The Toledo Defense
The run defense can’t get shredded. It’s sort of part of the deal with Toledo that the pass defense will struggle and sputter a bit – teams throw to try keeping up the pace – but the problems tend to rise up when the run D isn’t doing its job.
The Rockets allowed an okay 177 yards per game, but they gave up 31 scores and 4.65 yards per carry. Holding teams to fewer than 200 rushing yards wasn’t a sure thing – Fresno State was able to win with 186 – but the team was 1-4 – and 1-6 over the last seven games – when allowing that many or more.
Key Player To A Successful Season
WR Desmond Phillips, Sr.
Toledo always seems to find good, talented receivers who put up massive numbers, but it’s not going to be a breeze to replace Diontae Johnson, Jon’Vea Johnson and Cody Thompson after they scored almost every touchdown and dominated for the passing attack.
5-10, 185-pound Desmond Phillips is a quick pass catcher who finished fourth on the team with 27 catches for just 220 yards and no scores. Now he has to turn into a No. 1 guy considering his seniority in the corps, and the untested parts have to rise up around him.
Key Game To The Toledo Season
Northern Illinois, Nov. 13
Once again the MAC West is tougher than the East, but the Rockets get the toughest games at home. Western Michigan is the league opener in early October, and Eastern Michigan is a home date, too.
The division title, though, should come down to whether or not they can beat the defending MAC champs when NIU has to make the trip to Ohio. The Huskies won 38-15 last season, and Toledo is 2-7 going back to 2009.
– Toledo Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Toledo Fun Stats
– Field Goals: Toledo 15-of-20 – Opponents 7-of-13
– Red Zone TDs: Opponents 29-of-39 (74%) – Toledo 39-of-61 (64%)
– Onside Kicks: Opponents 0-for-5 – Toledo 0-for-3