Toledo Rockets Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Toledo season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Toledo Rockets Preview
Head Coach: Jason Candle, 8th year at Toledo, 45-27
2021 Preview: Overall: 7-6, Conference: 5-3
Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Toledo Top 10 Players | Toledo Schedule
Toledo Rockets Preview 2022
This program is so freaking frustrating.
Toledo should be working on the third or fourth MAC title under Jason Candle, and yet year after year there’s something missing.
Candled the Rockets got the job done in 2017 with a MAC Championship, but he’s had the best overall team for six years – seven if you include this season – and he has just the one appearance in the title game and the only bowl win came when he stepped in for Iowa State-bound Matt Campbell when first taking over the gig in 2015.
So let’s try this again. Toledo – who lost five games last year by a touchdown or less – has the best team in the MAC. The schedule isn’t easy, and there are things that need fixing – penalties, a more accurate passing game, penalties, and more penalties – but it’s all there.
The coaching is strong, the all-star veterans are in place, and a winning season and bowl appearance should be a mortal lock.
Now win the MAC Championship again, Toledo.
Toledo Rockets Preview 2022: Offense
The offense led the MAC in scoring averaging 33 points per game, rolled for 435 yards per game, and was the best in the nation at limiting the turnovers with just seven on the year. So of the key all-stars are gone, but …
Dequan Finn is a quarterback to build around. The young, efficient playmaker threw 18 touchdown passes with just two picks and ran for 505 yards and nine scores. He needs to be a bit more accurate, but he’s a dynamic winner to build around. It’s his team with Carter Bradley transferring to South Alabama.
The receiving corps loses leading yardage receiver Isaiah Winstead to East Carolina and leading touchdown catcher Matt Landers to Arkansas. Even so, Devin Maddox is a quick veteran who led the way with 41 catches for 521 yards and four scores. Finn spreads the ball around, but the O needs several young parts to step up fast.
The pass protection needs to be stronger, and there were too many tackles for loss allowed, but it’s going to be another great group for the running game even with two starters gone, helped by getting an all-star caliber blocker in Nick Rosi somewhere up front after missing last year hurt.
Losing 1,400-yard, 15 touchdown back Bryant Koback early to the NFL – he’s with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent – hurts, but Finn was the second-leading rusher, and smallish-speedy backs Jacquez Stuart and Micah Kelly are back after combining to average 5.4 yards per carry on their 564 yards.
Toledo Rockets Preview 2022: Defense
The defense had a few tough meltdowns, had a problem with penalties, and it didn’t come up with enough takeaways, but it managed to lead the MAC in scoring defense and was second overall allowing 350 yards and 22 points per game.
With eight returning starters and a slew of all-stars, expect more of the same, especially out of the pass rush.
The Rockets get back veteran Jamal Hines on the outside coming off his best season in his four years. He led the way with ten sacks, Desjuan Johnson was second on the team with 4.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss on the other side, and Dyontae Johnson was a force on the weakside.
As long as Jackson Barrow can handle the work in the middle after his 42-tackle season, this will be the best linebacking corps in the MAC by a mile.
The outside linebackers take care of the pass rush, but DT Judge Culpepper is a good interior presence in a next to 310-pound anchor Cavon Butler.
The secondary loses a few good pieces, but the safety combination of Maxen Hook and Nate Bauer will combine for close to 150 tackles again, and Quinyon Mitchell and Chris McDonald are two aggressive corners who can handle themselves.