Friday, September 15, 2006

Rockets enjoy friendly confines

Quaint Glass Bowl has been good to home team: 34-2 since end of 1999 season



Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

Toledo coach Tom Amstutz reacts to a call against his team during the second overtime of the Rockets' 45-43 triple-overtime loss to Iowa State. Toledo lost its season opener Aug. 31 in Ames, Iowa.

The Glass Bowl, the home stadium of the University of Toledo football team, quickly has established itself as a place visiting opponents just don't want to go to.

It's not intimidation - the 26,248-seat stadium is dwarfed by dozens of venues across the country. Rather, it's more of the way Toledo plays when surrounded by the comfort of home.

Toledo gets its first crack at an opponent at the Glass Bowl today, when Kansas University comes to town for the Rockets' first home game of the season. UT will be shooting for its sixth straight home-opening win and will try to improve on its 34-2 home record since the end of the 1999 season.

"I have never been at the Glass Bowl," Kansas coach Mark Mangino said, "but they say it's kind of a neat, nostalgic place to go watch a game."

Going home is something Toledo desperately needs. The Rockets are 0-2 this season, opening with a triple-overtime loss to Iowa State which ended when a two-point conversion pass was dropped.

Last week against Western Michigan, the Rockets outgained the Broncos in total yards but made a myriad of mistakes that doomed them in a 31-10 loss.

Quarterback Clint Cochran, for one, threw two interceptions, lost a fumble, bobbled a snap on a field-goal attempt and was sacked five times against Western Michigan.

It was just one of those days.

"We went back to practice Sunday, and we took our losses as a team and a coaching staff," Toledo coach Tom Amstutz said. "Obviously, we had a disappointing weekend, but we're going to refocus and gather back together. There's no crying in football."

Mistakes have cost them so far, but the Rockets have it in them to have another fine season. Toledo has won at least eight games each of the last six years and will rely on a potent passing attack to try to make it seven.

UT has attempted 80 passes in two games so far, completing 57 for 585 yards. Divide those in two, and you've got game averages. And they're all pretty high.

Cochran has completed 72.2 percent of his attempts, and that's no fluke. He completed 74 percent of his 42 pass attempts last year as Bruce Gradowski's backup.

"They do stretch the field vertically," Mangino said, "but they throw a lot of underneath routes, screens and things of that sort that they're good at that's been good to them over the years. They do have a high completion ratio, but they throw the ball vertically. They can get the ball down the field."

Basically, Toledo's offensive weakness plays into KU's defensive strength, and the Rockets' offensive strength matches up with KU's weakness.

Jalen Parmele has 181 yards rushing on 35 carries so far, but his legs won't win Toledo's first game today, not with KU's run defense putting up similar numbers as last year's.

Whatever key Toledo finds, it better find it quick. Though the Rockets have rebounded from an 0-2 start before, they know that the quicker the recovery, the better.

"We know we're 0-2," linebacker Mike Alston told the Toledo Blade. "We're fighting for a victory. But 0-3? Hey, we're thinking about nothing except what we have to do to win."


JBurtin 13 years, 6 months ago

If they allowed five sacks against Western Michigan, it sounds like our defensive line could be spending more time in their backfield than their quarterback. Having 280 pounds of Rodney Allen up in your grill will do a lot to slow down a vertical passing attack. If we bring enough pressure they'll have to stick to short three-step drops. That would allow our safeties to play in a bit closer and really concentrate on stuffing the run. In essense, we need to do to them what Louisiana Monroe did against us.

Luckily our offensive line is good enough that if we wish to have Meier throw some longer balls they probably wouldn't be able to bring the pressure the way we should to them. Louisiana-Monroe wasn't really good enough to bring that many guys in close, we were just playing a conservative game to protect our young quarterback. This week I expect the coaching staff will have to let Meier loose.

seattlehawk_78 13 years, 6 months ago

Did I miss the press conference or is Talib a game time decision?

Bad_Brad 13 years, 6 months ago

Injury report lists Talib as "probable", whatever that means (not sure how they can read Mangino's mind on that one).

By the way, where are you at in Seattle? I'm new to this area - is there a place to go watch a game with fellow Jayhawks?

seattlehawk_78 13 years, 6 months ago

I live in Bellevue and know of no such place where Jayhawks congregate. The wife and kid have prevented me from frequenting bars but have been to The Ram a couple of times. There is one in the U District and I think in Ballard as well. There is also one on Ruston Way in Tacoma if you live in the south end. The Ram has about 20 TV screens going so if the KU game is televised there is a good chance you can watch it there. When I lived in San Francisco the KU alumni association contacted me. I don't even know if Seattle has a local chapter or if they just haven't found me yet but that would be a good place to start.

Bad_Brad 13 years, 6 months ago

Aha. You're in my neck of the woods - wife and I just bought a home in Redmond (and it was not cheap, I assure you). I found the Seattle alumni chapter page, link is below. Always nice to run into a fellow 'hawk.

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