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November 15, 2011

Rocket Offense Soaring

Only die-hard Toledo fans would know that punters Bill Claus and Vince Penza have combined for 47 punts on the season. And if those names aren't familiar to Rocket fans, that may be a good thing.

"We don't really want people to know our punter's name, because we don't want to punt the ball," senior running back Adonis Thomas said. "We want to score as many times as possible. We watched Boise State, Houston and all the teams that put up a lot of points. We want to be a part of that too."

In the past two games, Toledo's offense has exploded for 126 points and Claus and Penza only had to punt a total of five times in the 63-60 loss to Northern Illinois and the 66-63 win over Western Michigan.

The Rockets rank first in the MAC with 41.8 points per game and are first in total offense with 490 yards per game. Not only is Toledo leading the conference in offense, but they are ranked 8th in the FBS in total offense and are 10th in the country in scoring offense.

"We feel that we're one of the best offenses in the country and every time we get on the field we want to display that," Thomas said.
The last two games for Toledo have been an offensive clinic and are something Toledo head coach Tim Beckman said he has never been a part of before, even when he was defensive coordinator for Oklahoma State in the notoriously high scoring Big 12 Conference.

"The bottom line is that players are making plays," Beckman said. "Adonis Thomas has had fabulous games as have (Eric) Page and all the running backs. Both quarterbacks-Austin (Dantin) had the concussion last game and we had to get him out-but I think TO (Terrance Owens) and Austin have done a great job. And then the offensive line has done a great job."

While the offense is clicking on all cylinders, the defense has really struggled, also giving up 162 points in the last two games. Thomas hopes the offense can help take some of the pressure off of the defense.

"We want to do everything we can to help the defense," Thomas said. "We really want to control the clock and keep our defense fresh. A lot of our defense plays on special teams. It gets kind of stressful to run down there and cover a punt, or cover a kick, or block on a return. And then you're asked to cover one of the best receivers or you're asked to try to shed a block and make a tackle in the backfield. We try to control the clock so our defense doesn't have to be on the field that long."

The Rockets will face another tough offense on the road this time, when they play at Central Michigan on Friday night. The Chippewas' junior quarterback Ryan Radcliff is second in the conference in passing yards per game with 277.5.

"It starts with their quarterback," senior defensive back Desmond Marrow said. "He's a real good quarterback, just like the last two weeks we've played real good quarterbacks."

This game could be another shootout, something the offense wouldn't mind.

"I like scoring," Thomas said. "I just like being in a shootout. I just like to see a lot of people make plays and to be a part of an offense that's making a lot of plays too."


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