San Diego State Football: First Look At The Toledo Rockets

San Diego State Football: First Look At The Toledo Rockets

Mountain West Football

San Diego State Football: First Look At The Toledo Rockets

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San Diego State Football: First Look At The Toledo Rockets


The Aztecs will face off against a like-minded opponent when the Toledo Rockets visit Snapdragon Stadium in late September.


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The Rockets haven’t had the same level of success as the Aztecs- but SDSU must be careful to avoid an upset.

San Diego State Football: First Look at 2022 Non-conference Opponents

Arizona | Idaho State | Utah | Toledo

San Diego, CA– Toledo, Ohio is known for several things: the Mud Hens, Lebanese food, the Maumee River. “The Glass City” also celebrates the Toledo Rockets, a formidable Missouri Valley Conference mid-major college football team who will be visiting Snapdragon Stadium in late September.

The Rockets are a strong mid-major opponent, and the Aztecs vs. Rockets will be one of the more energized matchups throughout the Mountain West’s non-conference docket. The Rockets will be the third team EVER to face off against the Aztecs in their shiny new Snapdragon Stadium this September, and they will play to win.

The Rockets, like the Aztecs, have a powerhouse defense and ground game offense. Because of that, the game could play like a strategic chess match between defensive-minded coaches. The Rockets haven’t had the same level of success as the Aztecs- but SDSU will have to be sharp to avoid an upset.

Hometown: Toledo, Ohio

Conference: Mid-American

Series History: This will be the first meeting between SDSU and Toledo.

2021 Record: 7-6 (5-3 MAC)

Head Coach: Jason Candle (eighth year at Toledo, 45-27 overall).

Key Players

Jamal Hines, DE

Veteran Jamal Hines is a menacing veteran “quarterback assasin.”  He returns on the outside coming off his best season in his four years. He led the way for Toledo last year with ten sacks.

Desjuan Johnson, DT

Two-time All-MAC defensive end Desjuan Johnson leads the Rockets after registering 70 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in 2021.  He will test the Aztecs’ offensive line.

Dequan Finn, QB

Sophomore Dequan Finn is the play caller the Rockets can build their program around. The young, efficient quarterback made 18 touchdown passes with just two interceptions and ran for 505 yards and nine touchdowns. He must build on accuracy, but he has a bright future. With Carter Bradley transferring to South Alabama, Finn is now top dog.

Maxen Hook, S

The safety combination of Maxen Hook and Nate Bauer will likely combine for close to 150 tackles once again. Hook led the two safeties with 95 tackles as a freshman in 2021.

Devin Maddox, WR

The receiving corps is led by Devin Maddox who caught 41 passes for 567 yards and four touchdowns in 2021. Maddox is also on special teams and last year he was an All-MAC punt returner.

Overview:

Offense

Toledo offense led the MAC in scoring averaging 33 points per game, advanced 435 yards per game, and was the best in the nation at limiting the turnovers with just seven on the year. The key all-stars from last year are gone, but Toledo has great up and comers.

Dequan Finn gives the Rockets’ a new chance at mid major greatness. His potential is uplifting for another great team that has fallen prey to the endless churn of the menacing college football transfer portal.

The receiving corps loses leading yardage receiver Isaiah Winstead to East Carolina and leading touchdown catcher Matt Landers to Arkansas. Even so, Devin Maddox is the veteran who led with 41 catches for 567 yards and four scores. Finn and Maddox are talented, but offense needs fledgling players to step up fast.

Toledo’s pass protection must get stronger, and tackles for loss were too common last season. Yet, it’s going to be another solid group for the run game even with two starters gone, and all-star caliber blocker in Nick Rosi will definitely be in the fold after being sidelined last year.

Losing 1,400-yard, 15 touchdown back Bryant Koback early to the NFL Minnesota Vikings as an un-drafted free agent is a massive hit, but quarterback Finn, the second-leading rusher, still remains.  Shortstop tailbacks Jacquez Stuart and Micah Kelly both return after combining for an average 5.4 yards per carry on their 564 yards. They will have an opportunity and a need to step up this year.

Defense

The Rockets have the MAC’s TOP defense with eight starters back.  Still, Toledo has drawn unnecessary penalties, thanks to a tempermental defense. They also missed several takeaway opportunities last year. Even with these factors, Toledo still led the MAC in scoring defense and was second overall allowing 350 yards and 22 points per game.

Veteran Jamal Hines returns on the outside coming off his best season in his four years. He led the way with ten sacks, Desjuan Johnson was second on the team with 4.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss on the other side, and Dyontae Johnson was formidable as well.

If Jackson Barrow can handle the work as mid linebacker after his 42-tackle season, this will be the best linebacking squad the MAC has seen in years.

The outside linebackers take care of the pass rush, but DT Judge Culpepper is a good interior presence.

The Rockets’ secondary is compromised unfortunately.  Nonetheless, the safety combo of Maxen Hook and Nate Bauer should account for around 150 tackles again. Quinyon Mitchell and Chris McDonald are two solid corners who will do their best to play their role.

Early Prediction

Jason Candle’s Rockets, and will enter the game with a strong defense and a few solid offensive weapons- and an expectation to beat the Aztecs. The Rockets have a few minor issues in their offensive line, as well as with their secondary- and many top players entered the transfer portal last year. The Aztecs will be locked and loaded with their elite defense, as the Rockets have their solid defense on display.  The Aztecs do have the ability to chew up clock time on offense, to help shape their destiny. Both teams handle the ball well.

With a new stadium and an absolutely electric fanbase, Aztec home field advantage will be amplified.  Brady Hoke has set a high bar this season as well.  Through time management and careful avoidance of turnovers, the Aztecs should keep control. The Rockets will post several touchdowns, but the Aztecs should maintain the upper hand in this game. Expect a fiercely contested match- and an SDSU win.

San Diego State 27,  Toledo 17

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