By now, it’s almost becoming routine.
With Toledo on tap for Saturday (noon, ESPN3), football finds itself preparing for two quarterbacks again after Rockets starter Terrance Owens was carted off the field last weekend with a sprained left knee during a 33-21 win over Eastern Washington.
Owens practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday, and head coach Matt Campbell told the Toledo Blade his decision to play him would be made Saturday morning prior to kickoff. In the meantime, Owens has been splitting reps with true freshman Logan Woodside, who was 14-for-24 for 185 yards and a touchdown last week.
“We’re getting used to that,” Enos said. “It’s two quarterbacks every week now. We’ve got to simplify what we do, play fast and make sure we tackle well. They’re very good on the offensive line and they’ve got very good skill (players), so you’ve got to get them down when you get an opportunity and try to get them on third-and-longs.”
Through three games this season, Toledo (1-2) has proven itself balanced behind an experienced offensive line that boasts four juniors and a senior. Before going down in the first half on Saturday, Owens had racked up 437 yards throwing and a touchdown, but four interceptions, while running back David Fluellen has rushed for 300 yards and three touchdowns. Fluellen rushed for 143 yards and two first-half touchdowns last week against Eastern Washington.
And then there’s the rivalry aspect. Sort of — depending on who you talk to.
On Tuesday, senior safety Avery Cunningham called Toledo the team’s second biggest rivalry, putting them just behind Western Michigan.
“This is where the real season begins,” Cunningham said. “All of our goals are still out there, and we can start out with Toledo.”
Junior Courtney Williams remembers last year’s game, a 50-35 loss at Toledo in which the Chippewas jumped out to a 21-10 second-quarter lead. He had a pair of touchdown catches, but the Rockets scored 21 unanswered points to take the lead and seize control of the game.
“For me personally, this is a rivalry game,” Williams said. “There’s a little bit of a personal rivalry, but as a team — as a unit — this is just a big game to get ahead in the MAC.”
Enos, who is 0-3 against Toledo as head coach, agreed with Cunningham’s assessment but later softened his stance on the Rockets.
“Really, every conference (team) you play, you’ve got to consider them a rival,” Enos said. “All of the games are so important, especially on the MAC West side of things. Everybody’s a challenge, no matter where you play them or when you play them.”
Odds shift dramatically
After Central Michigan opened as a surprising 26.5-point favorite earlier this week, according to VegasInsider.com, Las Vegas oddsmakers have since changed their mind. And in a big way.
At last check of the lines Thursday afternoon, Toledo was a 13-point favorite, indicating more confidence for the Rockets despite both team’s 1-2 records.
Kickoff time announced for N.C. State
A 3:30 p.m. kickoff was announced Monday for CMU’s Sept. 28 game at North Carolina State, its fourth and final non-conference opponent. The game will be aired live on ESPN3.
The only game left on the Chippewas’ schedule without a kickoff time is Nov. 29 against Eastern Michigan, to be televised on ESPNU.
Contact Aaron McMann: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AaronMcMann.