By AF, Toledo Football Beat Writer
It was homecoming weekend for the Toledo Rockets. Eastern Michigan rolled into town looking to crash the party. EMU hasn’t won in Toledo in this millennium (last win was in 1999). The Eagles from Ypsilanti were boasting a strong defense and determined to shut down a juggernaut Toledo offense led by Logan Woodside. Those are cute goals but making them a reality is a lot easier said than done. Toledo proved that on Saturday. In a rare noon kickoff on Homecoming weekend, the Rockets did end up finding themselves in a dog fight (No, Mike Vick was not in attendance) with EMU.
Eastern Michigan actually led the Rockets after the 1st quarter, 6-3. But the Rockets took the lead in the 2nd quarter on a Shakif Seymour touchdown run and never looked back. One major and unfortunate injury sustained by the Rockets this weekend was a broken leg for the Biletnikoff frontrunner, Cody Thompson. You want to talk about a selfless act? Cody Thompson literally broke his leg just so someone else could have a chance to win the Biletnikoff Award. I’ve never seen such a generous act. But in all seriousness, we’re all hoping for a speedy recovery for Cody. He’s a great leader and plays a vital role in this offense, so it’s sad to see his Rockets career end this way. I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing Cody on Sundays. Fortunately, the team didn’t let Cody’s injury bring them down. They rallied and pulled out a W on homecoming.
The best part of the Rockets’ performance this weekend was actually their defense. With two HUGE picks by Kahlil Robinson including one late to seal the deal, the defense held the Eagles to just 15 points. Toledo’s defense held EMU to less than 100 rushing yards as well including 5 tackles for a loss. The Eagles offense coming into the contest wasn’t the best, and the Rockets exposed that extremely well.
Logan Woodside continued his #WoodsideForHeisman campaign. Despite not scoring for the Rockets on Saturday, Woodside led his team magnificently. As a quarterback, when one of your best playmakers goes down to an injury, it’s on you to pick your team up and keep forging ahead. Woodside did just that. He was 23/34 for 289 yards on the day. He had completions to EIGHT different receivers in the contest as well. He’s such a team guy that he let his teammates Shakif Seymour and Art Thompkins each get a rushing touchdown. Selfless play by the Rockets quarterback. Can’t wait to hear his speech in New York.
Perhaps one of the best parts of this Rockets team is that EVERYONE contributes. Shakif Seymour had 17 carries for 55 yards and a score, and Art Thompkins added 15 more carries for 94 yards and a touchdown. Through the air, Diontae Johnson stepped up when Cody went down and had 8 receptions for 97 yards. Danzel McKinley-Lewis added 4 more catches for 61 yards. Jameson Vest hit two out of three field goal attempts and made both of is PATs. The Toledo offense only put up 20 points, but the defense stepped up, so that’s all they needed.
Next week, the Rockets travel to Central Michigan to take on the Chippewas. The Chippewas are 3-3 on the year but haven’t really beaten anyone of value. They beat Kansas – a complete dumpster fire of a football program – and Ohio University, but lost handily to a 2-4 Miami (OH) team and Syracuse. The Chips’ QB, Shane Morris, has 11 TDs and 9 INTs on the year. He is a Michigan transfer, so he couldn’t cut it in the Big Ten apparently. Turns out he can’t really cut it in the MAC either. Look for Woodside to outshine him in a big way (obviously). Toledo also has the upper hand on the ground. Terry Swanson and company have put together a rushing attack that boasts a 173 yards per game average on the year. CMU’s ground game averages 129 per game. On paper, Toledo should win this game pretty easily. You never know heading into Chippewa country what the atmosphere could dictate, but I think Coach Candle will have his men mentally ready for this one. The Toledo train is rollin’ and the Chippewas are about to get run over. It’s fitting that it’s Columbus Day week since the Rockets are going to drive the Chippewas off their own field come Saturday.
Look for another Rockets W and Woodside to make it rain.