Posted: 2:19 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, 2013
By Zach Harig
After a lackluster offensive showing in Week 1, the Toledo Rockets look to rebound this week. However, earning a victory will be no easier than it was on Saturday in the Swamp. Following the Rockets' 24-6 loss to the Florida Gators, head coach Matt Campbell was well aware of the challenges coming in Week 2.
"We know it isn't going to be easy (playing Missouri)," said Campbell. "But our kids are well aware of that, we're just excited to see where we stack up."
In Week 1 against Florida, the Toledo offense seemed to lack any big play capability. The Gators proved how tough their defense can be by holding Toledo's senior leader and quarterback Terrance Owens to only 155 yards passing and a 44 percent completion percentage. However, Owens wasn't alone in the lack of production, as the Gators' defense also held running back David Fluellen to only 46 yards on just nine carries.
From a defensive perspective, the young Rockets defense looked OK this past week allowing 24 points to their first SEC opponent in school history. Last season, the Toledo defense averaged 28 points allowed per contest, which was good for 67th in the country. This season, defense is a big place for improvement.
The Missouri Tigers, on the other hand, are coming off of a 5-7 season in 2012. The Tigers won 58-14 over the Murray State Racers last week. Missouri quarterback James Franklin had a great game against the FCS opponent, throwing for 318 yards and three touchdowns. Missouri's junior running back Henry Josey also added 113 yards rushing. For the first time in school history Missouri had a 300 yard passer along with two 100 yard rushers.
To win this game Toledo needs its defense to bend, but not break, and the offense to live up to expectations. It won't be easy, but the odds are better than last week when the Rockets faced a Top 10 team. Missouri is not ranked, and despite being a member of the SEC, still isn't quite up to the standards of the rest of the conference it joined a year ago.
Missouri and Toledo are set for a shootout on Saturday at Faturot Field in Columbia, Missouri. With back-to-back SEC opponents, the road will be rough for the Toledo Rockets. However, after a down season last year, Missouri could be on upset alert this week.
The game can be seen ESPNU as well as on the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com.