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at Toledo 58 ... New Hampshire 22

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 1, 2011


Week 1 CFN Fearless Prediction - New Hampshire at Toledo

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 1 - New Hampshire at Toledo

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Sept. 1 at Toledo 58 … New Hampshire 22
CFN Analysis: With 591 yards of total offense, this was exactly what Toledo needed to do out of the gate. Will the success against New Hampshire mean anything against Ohio State or Boise State? No, but it showed that the offense is in midseason form already with Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens both excellent combining to complete 25-of-34 passes for 283 yards and five scores. Adonis Thomas got the holes to run through, and he took advantage with 115 yards and a score on just nine carries. The offense was explosive, steady, and complete for three quarters before taking its foot off the gas. Forget about the next few weeks; in MAC play, the Toledo team that showed up against UNH looks ready to be a major factor.

(AP) TOLEDO, Ohio -- Austin Dantin threw for three touchdowns and Adonis Thomas had a score to lead Toledo to a 58-22 rout of New Hampshire on Thursday night in the season opener for both teams.

The Rockets did not have much trouble against New Hampshire, pulling away early in the first half with a 24-0 lead on Thomas' 46-yard run. The Toledo running back finished with 115 yards on nine carries.

Toledo backup quarterback Terrance Owens threw for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Bernard Reedy caught five passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns, which included a 63-yard touchdown catch from Dantin in the second half.

New Hampshire was held scoreless until Chris Setian caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Decker with 28 seconds in the second quarter.

Decker passed for 162 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception for New Hampshire.

New Hampshire (0-0) vs. Toledo (0-0) Sept. 1, 7:00 
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Here’s The Deal … This matchup pits two teams entering the 2011 season looking to build off the success that they had in 2010. New Hampshire finished 8-5 in 2010 playing in the Colonial Athletic Association, which is the FCS equivalent of the SEC. The Wildcats finished 5-3 in conference play, and advanced to the third round of the playoffs, losing to eventual runner-up Delaware. More impressively, they sustained the level of excellence of previous seasons by remaining in the FCS polls. The Wildcats have been ranked in every week in the FCS poll since 2004. Toledo had its first winning season since 2005 last year. Under second year Coach Tim Beckman, the Rockets overcame a plethora of injuries, finishing 7-1 in MAC play, and earning a berth in the Motor City Bowl. Both teams have a lot at stake in this contest. A New Hampshire victory over the preseason MAC favorite would move the Wildcats high in the FCS polls, which would give them home field advantage in the FCS playoffs. On the other hand, Toledo needs to pick up a win to establish momentum against brutal non-conference schedule that includes Ohio State, Boise, and Syracuse.

Why New Hampshire Might Win: Without much fanfare or recognition, New Hampshire has earned a reputation as a giant killer. Since 2004, the Wildcats have beaten Northwestern, Ball State, Rutgers, Army, and Marshall. New Hampshire won these games by playing solid team defense, and forcing turnovers. The Wildcats simply take away the run, and then force the other team to throw. When other teams try to throw against New Hampshire, the Wildcat defense rises to the occasion. Last season, they recorded 37 sacks and 23 interceptions. New Hampshire should stop Toledo's running game, which failed to average three yards per carry in over half of its games last year. The Rocket offensive line had trouble keeping QBÕs upright last year, surrendering a sack in 10 of 12 games last season. The increased pressure will result in more turnovers.

Why Toledo Might Win: The Toledo passing attack will come out firing on all cylinders. While the Rocket rushing attack only worked in half of the games last season, the passing game was consistent throughout, especially in conference play. More impressively, the offense kept clicking when Terrance Owens became the starter after an injury to Austin Dantin. Whoever plays QB will have a big game as the Rocket receivers rank among the top units in the MAC. The Rocket wide outs have a significant size and speed advantage over the Wildcat corners. On the other side of the ball, New Hampshire must replace all but one of its starters in the secondary, which was the heart and soul of the defense. While the Wildcats usually reload rather than rebuild, stopping the Rocket passing attack might be asking too much.

What To Watch Out For: Keep an eye out for New Hampshire LB Matt Evans. An All-American candidate at the FCS level, Evans recorded 156 tackles last year. In addition to his skills against the run, Evans finished second on the team with 4 sacks, and intercepted two passes. The Wildcats will use Evans' versatility to disrupt the Toledo running game, and force the Rockets to turn exclusively to the passing game. When the Rockets turn to the passing game, they will get the ball into the hands of Eric Page, who has tallied 1,000 yards receiving in each of his two seasons with the Rockets. An electrifying playmaker, Page is capable of taking the ball to the house every time he touches the ball. Regardless of how defenses try to defend Page, he always manages to find the open spot in the coverage, and make a first down for the Rockets. He should have no trouble against an inexperienced Wildcat secondary.
 
What Will Happen:
This will remain close for the entire game. The New Hampshire offense will succeed in throwing the ball early, but stagnate towards the end of the game as the Rockets make some second half adjustments. The Wildcat pass rush will cause some early trouble for Toledo, but New Hampshire will have no have answer for Eric Page. Page makes the difference in the game, exploiting an inexperienced secondary for another 100-yard performance, leading the Rockets to a closer-than-expected victory.

CFN Prediction: Toledo 28 ... New Hampshire 20
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