Tag Archives: Toledo Rockets

2020 MAC Football: Final Exams

As the 2020 MAC football regular season comes to a close this weekend, we give one player from each team our analysis prior to their final exams.


Western Michigan 

76 Jaylon Moore 6’5 315 LT-Senior

Moore has started 31 straight games at the left tackle position (entering 12/9/20).

Moore’s consistency dates back nearly three full seasons. A smooth mover with enough power, he simply needs more consistency with hand placement. He bears a strong resemblance to former Western Michigan tackles Taylor Moton (Carolina Panthers) and Chukwuma Okorafor (Pittsburgh Steelers). Both are former Broncos currently starting at the right tackle position in the NFL.

Ball State

2 Caleb Huntley 6’2 226 RB-Senior

Scouts are impressed that the 225-plus pound barreling ram has continued to improve his footwork in 2020. A recent rib injury has robbed him of the last two games, but his presence provides balance for quarterback Drew Plitt and the Cardinals (4-1). Prior to the injury, Huntley had posted three 100-yard games in 2020.

Central Michigan

8 Troy Brown 6’2 204 LB-Junior

A heat-seeking missile at just 204 pounds, the former safety turned linebacker sifted his way to 16.5 tackles for loss in 2019 (led the MAC). Along the way there was the occasional hiccup (targeting ejection, MAC Championship ’19) but it has not deterred him from continuing to lay the lumber in 2020. He busted loose versus Ball State last weekend (12/5/20) with 12 tackles, 2.5 quarterback sacks and 3.5 tackles for losses.

Toledo Rockets

0 Samuel Womack 5’10 187

Womack (No. 19 pictured, now wears No. 0) led the MAC as a junior with 17 passes defended and ranks second with seven in 2020.

One of the most competitive defenders in the conference, Womack overcomes ordinary size with pristine footwork and a glass half empty, glass half full approach. His gambles are often calculated and timely.  After defending 17 passes in 2019 (2 INTs, 15 PBUs), he has broken up seven passes so far in 2020. The key for him moving forward comes down to timing his opens to run out of his backpedal or in press-man coverage.

 Northern Illinois

3 Tyrice Richie 6’0 193 WR-Senior

The former JUCO product impresses in the intermediate passing game alongside fellow transfer quarterback Ross Bowers. Richie scored a receiving touchdown last weekend against Toledo, but it was not against the aforementioned Womack. Richie has four 100-yard receiving games in five contests, but may not even reach his listed measurements.

Eastern Michigan

99 Turan Rush 6’2 246 OLB-Senior

The 249-pound Rush posted two sacks against Ball State and his pass rush variety is improving. He has been more steady holding the edge in 2020 as opposed a season ago; particularly versus tight ends. The Charleston, West Virginia native has 11.5 quarterback sacks in his career and would benefit from taking advantage of an extra year if allowed to return to school, as he has slowed down in recent weeks.  

Buffalo

49 Taylor Riggins 6’2 255 DE-Senior

Buffalo’s Taylor Riggins, pictured, was supposed to form one of the better edge rushing duos in the MAC this season, but he has not appeared in any games due to an undisclosed ailment.

While teammate Malcolm Koonce get most of the ink, Riggins’ productivity has arguably been just as noteworthy (13.5 sacks over the 2018-19 campaigns). He has, however, been invisible in all of the Bulls contests in 2020 due to an undisclosed ailment. The former UMass transfer may decide to come back in 2021 to finish on a stronger standing.

Kent State

7 Dustin Crum 6’3 207 QB-Senior

Crum (No. 14 pictured in 2019 handing the ball off) understands the value of efficiency. Through four games, the senior signal-caller ranks sixth nationally in QB rating (192.7).

His ball placement continues to shine, particularly on routes that require touch and arc within three yards of the sideline on nine routes or fades down the field. A deft zone read specialist, Crum leads the nation’s second-ranked offense in scoring, No. 1 offense in yards per game and the second-ranked offense  in third down conversion percentage.

Editor’s Note: Crum now wears No. 7 for the Golden Flashes

Miami (Ohio)

51 Danny Godlevske 6’3 300 OC-Senior

While not a dominator, Godlevske gets to most of his spots and has even shown the ability to get out in space when the team uses the screen game. Improvement in his pass pro versus stronger defensive linemen should be his focus down the stretch.  Godlevske opted for the NFL Draft early before the MAC proceeded with its season this fall. He is not as strong of a prospect as fellow senior offensive line mate, left tackle Tommy Doyle, but he could at the least get into an NFL training camp.

Ohio 

47 Austin Conrad 6’2 245 OLB/DE-Senior

Conrad finished with at least six tackles for loss in 2018 and 2019.

His energy never wavers despite a relative lack of size. He fights relentlessly down-to-down. Coaches also lauded his first step. He’s the personal protector on the punt team, competitive versus the run and has even lined up as the three-technique defensive tackle in some of their packages. The Bobcats have only played three games as of press time (12-9-20), so Conrad’s numbers won’t jump off the page.

Akron

Bubba Arslanian 5’9 205 LB-Senior

Arslanian has reigned terror on Bowlling Green the last two seasons, recording 35 tackles, 2 QB sack, 4 TFLs and two forced fumbles. Can he cover well enough to play man-to-man versus bigger tight ends?

There are not a lot of 205-pound linebackers that play as if they’re carrying a boulder on their back. Arslanian averaged over 10 tackles a game in 2019 but has picked up the pace, averaging slightly over 11 in 2020. Most impressively, he’s been able to stay injury-free.

Bowling Green

Quintin Morris 6’4 251 TE-Senior

The former big wide receiver has transitioned positively to the tight end/H-back position after the staff convinced him of the move. He did so while adding weight. The 2019 second-team All-MAC pick brings flex capabilities to the table, with intriguing run after the catch skills.  After a slow start to the season, Morris has posted three consecutive 60-plus yard receiving games.

NCAA FB Week 1 report (8-31-19): DBs stand out

There were a number of defensive backs who stood out in Week 1 of the 2019 college football campaign.  We take a look at seven who made their respective marks.

Saeed Holt 6’0 195 DB-Sophomore Toledo

Notable stats vs. Kentucky, 8-31-19: 10 tackles, TFL

The Rockets used Holt in a number of ways around the line of scrimmage and in coverage.  He closed off the edge late in the first quarter to record a tackle for loss one play after coming up to deliver a shot versus Kentucky 6-foot-6, 247-pound freshman tight end Keaton Upshaw in the flats.  For a team that lost two of its better players from its 2018 secondary –CB Ka’dar Hollman (6th round, 185th overall, 2019 NFL Draft, Green Bay Packers) and S Josh Teachey– Holt’s 10 tackles and one tackle for loss provided relief for defensive coordinator Brian George.

Nevada Secondary

Notable stats vs. Purdue, 8-30-19:

  • 6 Tyson Williams 5’9 195 DB-Sophomore: 12 tackles
  • 25 Daniel Brown 5’11 185 DB-Senior: 5 tackles, TFL, 2 INTs and PBU
  • 1 Berdale Robins 5’9 185 DB-Junior: One tackle, 3 PBUs
  • 4 EJ Muhammed 5’11 190 DB-Senior: 10 tackles, FF
  • 5 Emany Johnson 6’2 210 DB-Freshman: 7 tackles

Nevada defensive backs Daniel Brown (No. 25 pictured) and EJ Muhammed (No. 4 pictured) both had big contributions in Nevada’s 34-31 victory over Purdue last Friday night.

The Wolf Pack defensive backs entered last Friday night’s contest against Purdue knowing that they would have a tough test.  Aside from having to slow down Boilermakers All-American sophomore receiver Rondale Moore, the team also had to slow down All-Big Ten tight end Brycen Hopkins and two four-star recruits in freshmen David Bell and Milton Wright.   Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel’s 3-3-5 stack defensive requires multiple roles for a number of defensive backs.  Each of the five aforementioned names had big impacts.

Brown displayed good feet and eye discipline in zone coverage early in the game on a key red zone pass break-up off of a wheel concept to Purdue slot receiver Jackson Anthrop.   He matched his career interception total with a slick grab off of an ill-advised third down and 10 throw by Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar.   The senior cornerback then grabbed his second interception of the game with at the 0:38 mark of the fourth quarter to set up Nevada’s game-winning field goal.  Nevada used a three-deep zone where Johnson broke from the deep one-third to knock away a Sindelar pass intended for freshman receiver Bell.  The tip resulted in Brown’s second theft. 

Muhammed -who started two games in 2018 before going down to injury- tackled with intensity most of the night.  He forced and recovered his own strip off of Wright in the second quarter to stop a Purdue offensive drive.  The tackling of he, Robins and Williams helped stymie much of Purdue’s offensive attack in the second half.  Moore was limited to just three receptions for 10 yards in the second stanza of the game.  In addition, Sindelar completed just 3-of-9 passes for 10 yards and one interception in the fourth quarter.

Myles Wolfolk 5’11 205 DB-Junior North Carolina

Notable: 6 tackles, 2 INTs (33 yards)

New North Carolina defensive coordinator Jay Bateman knew he would need a big game from his secondary to slow down the South Carolina offensive attack led by quarterback Jake Bentley.  Wolfolk delivered in a big way.  After initially starting his career as a nickel corner/linebacker for the Tar Heels, he has since moved full-time to the safety position.  Coming off an injury-plagued 2018 campaign,  the junior safety twice earned the team’s new turnover championship belt with interceptions off Bentley.   On the game-winning pick, the former high school wideout displayed the ability to bait the Gamecock quarterback.   On a third down and 10 from the North Carolina 26-yard line, Bateman ran a version of a zone blitz (brought four rushers and dropped his strong defensive end into the middle hook area) which tasks Wolfolk with curl-flat responsibility towards the short side of the field.  After he took his initial drop, Bentley thought he had an open crossing route to his No. 4 receiver (coming from the strong side) because Wolfolk stayed outside the numbers to the weak side No. 1 X-receiver while reading the quarterback’s eyes.  As soon as Bentley let go of the ball, the former high school wideout took a B-line path to the crossing route and picked it off with ease.  The pick sealed the win for the Tar Heels and got the ACC a much-needed victory over an SEC opponent in head coach Mack Brown’s return to Chapel Hill. 

“We’re all aiming to get this (belt) every week,” Wolfolk explained while wearing the turnover belt in the locker room after the game. “This week was mine and I’m blessed to say it.” https://www.thestate.com/sports/college/acc/article234615997.html