Toledo – Eastern Michigan NotebookWritten by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
As Toledo amazingly grabbed just its third win of the season on Oct. 8, the Rockets cruised past a clearly overmatched Eastern Michigan squad despite a litany of injuries. Toledo (3-3, 2-0 Mid-American Conference) established themselves as the team to beat in the MAC with close losses to Ohio State and Syracuse and a statement blowout victory over conference-foe Temple, and they did nothing to hurt that reputation after throttling the Eagles.
Page gets UT receptions record. Is the NCAA record next?
The biggest storyline coming from Toledo’s win over EMU was (as usual) the performance of junior Eric Page. The dynamic wide receiver caught 11 balls for 109 yards and one score to grab Toledo’s all-time receiving record with 235 catches, eclipsing former wideout Stephen Williams’ (2006-09) mark of 229.
Breaking a school record just halfway into his third season is phoenominal. That success raises the question, can Page break the NCAA’s all-time mark? The answer is unequivocally ‘yes.’
The NCAA’s current record holder is former Purdue wideout Taylor Stubblefield, who grabbed 317 catches between 2001-04.
Page’s real competition, however, will be Oklahoma wide receiver Ryan Broyles. After the third-ranked Sooners massacre of rival No. 11 Texas, Broyles inched to within four receptions of the all-time mark with 313 catches.
With the Big 12 losing its conference championship game after two teams left the conference (Colorado, Nebraska) this season, Broyles has just seven career games remaining including a bowl game. If Broyles maintains his career receptions average of 7.11 receptions per game, the OU wideout would finish his career with nearly 363 catches.
Even if Broyles eclipses the old record by nearly 50 catches, Page is clearly a threat for the record. Over the remainder of this year combined with 2012, Page has a minimum total of 18 games he can play in. Toledo also has the possibility of playing in four additional games including two possible conference championships and two bowl games.
If Page continues to grab his career average of 7.58 receptions per contest, Page would rack up over 371 catches in the minimum of 18 games and potentially up to nearly 402 receptions if UT made two MAC Championships and bowl games.
The bottomline is Page is on pace to have a career unlike anything the college football world has ever seen when it comes to receptions and barring injury the homegrown product has the potential to put his name in the record books for many years to come.
Injuries just keep coming
At this point, it’s just getting ridiculous.
An already injury-plagued Toledo roster, most notably on defense, suffered three more setbacks on Oct. 8 with the loss of tight end Danny Noble, defensive end T.J. Fatinikun and safety Jermaine Robinson.
The biggest confirmed loss is Noble, who UT Head Coach Tim Beckman said could possibly miss the rest of the season with a broken fibula. Beckman said he hoped Noble could return late in the year but judging by Noble’s reaction on the field and the severeness of the injury itself, it’s hard to picture Noble returning this season.
While Noble’s injury is damaging, the loss of T.J. Fatinikun could be devastating to the Rockets hopes of winning a league title. The early word on Fatinikun is that he had an elbow injury and that it would be evaluated on a daily basis. Although that sounds positive, Beckman also said that his elbow “was out and then went back in.”
Elbow dislocations are potentially very damaging. Just two days ago, St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola suffered a dislocated elbow which will end the remainder of his season. Judging by how gruesome Fatinikun’s injury appeared, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the talented defensive end miss an extended period of time.
Robinson is yet another potentially disastrous injury to a defense still reeling from injuries. The junior safety suffered a right arm injury and left the field in a cast. Beckman said that if necessary Robinson could have played the second half if he was needed for the Rockets.
The loss of Robinson would be devastating to a safety unit whose depth has taken a big hit over the course of the year. After free safety Mark Singer was declared out for the remainder of the season during training camp with a shoulder injury, Robinson’s backup Diauntae Morrow moved to the other safety spot to fill the void. The Rockets also dismissed “star” (linebacker/safety hybrid) Isaiah Ballard before the season.
Injuries are nothing new to Toledo this year. The Rockets lost arguably their top defensive player in linebacker Dan Molls after just one game this season. Molls, who has an unknown leg injury, has yet to return to the lineup but was out of a walking boot for the first time this season on a UT sideline against the Eagles. The Rockets also lost Second-Team All-MAC running back Adonis Thomas to a broken arm for a period of four-to-six weeks on Sept. 24. Starters including ‘star’ Charles Rancifer (pinched nerve), linebacker Robert Bell (ribs) and cornerbacks Desmond Marrow (concussion) and Taikwon Paige (leg) have all also missed time with injuries this season.
The two QB system is back
Last week in a matchup between two of the MAC’s top schools, sophomore quarterback Terrance Owens was a healthy scratch in last week’s 36-13 victory over Temple. Beckman said after the game that the decision to stay with junior Austin Dantin was due to his performance and that Owens had originally been scheduled to be a part of the rotation.
Against Eastern Michigan, however, the two quarterback system was in full force. Dantin completed 14-of-16 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Owens also enjoyed success, setting a UT record for completion percentage after completing 13-of-14 passes for 146 yards and two scores.
Pasquale continues to dominate Eastern Michigan
If there has been one player who has excelled against the Eagles, it has been junior David Pasquale. The junior quarterback-turned-running back rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries against EMU on Oct. 8.
Over his three year career, Pasquale has rushed 25 times for 171 yards (6.84 yards per carry) and four touchdowns (three rushing) against Eastern Michigan. Against all other teams, Pasquale has totaled 180 yards on 48 carries (3.75 ypc) with two scores.