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Sunday, September 12, 2004

Toledo won’t compare KU, Gophers

Rockets coach Amstutz: They both have very good teams

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The University of Minnesota's No. 22-ranked football team scored 63 points against Toledo on Sept. 4 at the Metrodome.

Unranked Kansas erupted for just as many points against the Rockets on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

So, Toledo coach Tom Amstutz, who has the better football team: former KU coach Glen Mason of Minnesota or Mark Mangino of Kansas?

"They both have very good teams," Amstutz said with a shrug.

He was unwilling to play the comparison game after the Rockets' 63-14 loss to the Jayhawks, a game that took place a week after a 63-21 shellacking at UM.

His players -- only two were made available to the media -- were equally disinterested in comparing the Big Ten and Big 12 conference programs.

"They are both good teams with different styles," Toledo senior safety Michael Broussard said. "I want to give Kansas credit. Kansas has a great team, just like Minnesota."

The Jayhawks gained 501 yards to Toledo's 298.

"Kansas came out and made plays," Broussard said. "Their quarterback (Adam Barmann) is a good player. He's accurate. He didn't look right at his targets."

Barmann riddled a young Toledo defense (15 freshmen and sophomores on the two-deep defense) that has allowed back-to-back 50-point games for the first time since 1917.

Toledo in two games has allowed 126 points, one point more than the Rockets surrendered during the entire 2000 season, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel's last year at the mid-major school.

"It will not be demoralizing to our team," said Amstutz, who was Toledo's defensive coordinator in 2000. "We have too proud of a tradition to let this keep our heads down. We have to keep pushing and work our way through it."

Toledo quarterback Bruce Gradkowski completed 15 of 28 passes for 215 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He completed seven of 17 passes with two interceptions the first half as Toledo trailed, 49-7, at the break.

"It's little things," said Gradkowski, a junior who was ranked second in the U.S. in completion percentage last season. "We start getting in rhythm, and something breaks down. Each guy has his own mistakes on a given play. We need to come together, refocus, regroup. Once we get it together we'll be fine."

If not, Toledo, which travels Saturday to Eastern Michigan, well could be on its way to its first losing season in 11 years.

"Kansas has a very good team. I was impressed with their defense. On film they run well, have a good defense, a solid team," Amstutz said.

As good as Minnesota's? KU and the Gophers may have to be matched in a bowl game for KU fans to find out.

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