Toledo Rockets Football: 2015 Season Preview and Prediction


Matt Campbell led the Toledo Rockets to a 9-4 record in 2014 and a win in the GoDaddy Bowl but what should be expected of his team as he enters his fourth season as head coach?

The Toledo Rockets got out of the gates slow last year when they lost in blowout fashion to Missouri and Cincinnati to open the year with a 1-2 record before entering conference play.

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Armed with one of the best rushing attacks and prolific offenses in the country, Toledo rallied to win their first five games in the Mid-American Conference with non-conference loss to Iowa State in the middle to get to 6-3 in advance of their meeting with Northern Illinois.

The Huskies have been the class of the MAC West for years and the Rockets played them tough but ultimately lost 27-24 to suffer their first and only conference loss. Toledo rallied and won their last two MAC games to finish in a first-place tie with NIU for the division lead but didn’t play in the MAC Championship Game as a result of their head-to-head loss.

Campbell led Toledo to a win in the GoDaddy Bowl against Arkansas State to finish on a high and finish 9-4 and look to build on that in 2015 with one of the conferences best offenses at his disposal.

Offensive Outlook

Toledo led the MAC in scoring offense with an average of 36.6 points per game based on the strength of the conference’s best ground game and the nation’s No. 13 ranked rushing offense with an average of 256.4 yards per game. Running back Kareem Hunt had 1,631 yards and 16 touchdowns last year and competes with Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin as the league’s best back. He had 271 yards and five touchdowns in the bowl win against Arkansas State and is primed for a monster campaign if Toledo can replace five offensive line starters.

Reserve runner Terry Swanson returns after rushing for 732 yards and six touchdowns on only 113 carries as Toledo’s depth in the backfield is what makes them so dangerous..

Quarterback Logan Woodside is back after completing 62.6 percent of his passes for 2,272 yards and 19 touchdowns to only eight interceptions and he gets his top two receivers back too. All-MAC receivers Corey Jones (69-851-5) and Alonzo Russell (51-770-8) return to complement a dominant run game and Russell has a chance to become the program’s first four-time All-MAC performer with another strong season.

Of note, should the offense stall out in the red zone they won’t have three-time All-MAC kicker Jeremiah Detmer anymore after he graduated. The kicking game bears watching to see how much faith Campbell has in his new leg.

Defensive Outlook

Toledo’s defense was statistically in the middle of the pack in the MAC, finishing seventh in total defense and eighth in scoring defense. However, it is a bit misleading because Toledo had the conference’s worst pass defense, allowing 291.7 yards per game and 37 touchdowns, 10 more than the second-worst team. Again, that’s misleading because they were without former starting corners Cheatham Norrils and Cameron Cole and because teams had no choice but to pass on them because Toledo had the MAC’s best rush defense.

The defensive line is led by tackles  Orion Jones and Treyvon Hester and ends Trent Voss and Allen Covington. This front four should repeat as the toughest to run on this year with Jones and Hester potential first-team All-MAC performers after being named to the second-team last year. Jones led the team with six sacks last year while Voss was second with 4.5. Voss led the team with 15 tackles for loss while Jones had 10 and Hester was third with 9.5.

Voss is also the leading returning tackler after making 77 combined stops last year and he may lead the team this year depending on how a new group of linebackers equips themselves this year with Junior Sylvestre and Ray Bush gone after leading the team with 100 and 82 tackles apiece. Competing for starting jobs are Chase Murdock who was a starter in 2013, Jaylen Coleman and underclassmen, Zach Quinn, Ju’Wuan Woodley, Bernard Rogers and Devin Alexander.

The secondary should be vastly improved just by getting healthy. Norrils and Cole are back after missing the 2014 season due to injury and UAB transfer Rolan Milligan is on campus to compete for playing time at strong safety along with last year’s starter Chaz Whitaker after coming in second in tackles at UAB last year. DeJuan Rogers should man the free safety position after making 67 tackles last year.


After a Week 1 game against Stony Brook, Toledo will be challenged with a neutral site game against a rising Arkansas team, a home game against Iowa State and a rematch of the GoDaddy Bowl against Arkansas State. A win against Iowa State could mean a 3-1 start heading into MAC play when they get Northern Illinois and Western Michigan at home. Their toughest road game is a trip to Bowling Green, the defending MAC East champion, on Nov. 17.

I think a nine-win regular season is attainable with NIU coming to Toledo this year and Iowa State an upset candidate with a trip to the MAC Championship Game dependent on a win against NIU.

Next: Top 15 Head Coaches Without a National Championship

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