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September 16, 2011

Boise St.-Toledo Preview

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) Toledo coach Tim Beckman looked into his players' eyes, trying to see how they'd respond after coming within a play or two of beating Ohio State. He came away thinking they'll be ready for another chance to make a statement on Friday when the Rockets host No. 4 Boise State.

It's not often a mid-major school gets a second shot against the big boys.

"There was still some sorrow in their eyes," Beckman said about how his team looked a day after the 27-22 loss to the No. 17 Buckeyes.

But after watching tape of the game on Sunday, he said his players realized how close they came to becoming the first in-state opponent to beat Ohio State since 1921. They saw that too many penalties and missed opportunities cost them dearly.

"Our players are resilient," he said. "In today's game, the way players are, they seem to bounce back faster than the coaches."

Boise State (1-0) didn't play last week after an impressive 35-21 victory against Georgia in Atlanta. The Rockets (1-1) have little time to get ready for the Broncos, who will be the highest-ranked team ever to play in Toledo's stadium.

"That's the best part about it," cornerback Desmond Marrow said. "You get to redeem yourself, pick up on some unfinished business."

The Rockets feel like they let the Ohio State game slip away.

They allowed a touchdown on a punt return, missed a field goal and botched another one. Despite the mistakes, they were 17 yards away from a winning touchdown when an incompletion on fourth down ended their chances.

"We almost pulled off a huge upset," running back Adonis Thomas said. "To be in the same situation again with a fourth-ranked opponent, we know what we have to do to get the win."

Beckman wouldn't allow any talk about the difference in penalties. Toledo was penalized 14 times for 102 yards while Ohio State had just two for 13.

"That game," he said, "was not lost because of officiating."

Beckman said it was one of the toughest locker rooms he's ever been in after a game, and that he was watching closely to see how long it would take to get over the loss. Offensive tackle Mike VanDerMeulen said he gave himself 24 hours.

"We've got to move on," he said.

Win or lose, Boise State coach Chris Petersen said he was impressed by the Rockets.

"They played right with them," he said. "It's not a fluke. It's a good football team."

The Broncos had an easy time with Toledo a year ago in a 57-14 victory, scoring on four out of their first six possessions. Kellen Moore threw three touchdowns in the first half.

Toledo kept it close for a while before giving up five turnovers. The Rockets also lost quarterback Austin Dantin to a concussion in the game.

The Broncos don't know yet whether three players suspended by the NCAA for undisclosed reasons will be allowed to return this week. All three are practicing, including projected starting safety Cedric Febis and receiver Geraldo Boldewijn who was expected to be a big contributor on offense. They also might be without fullback Dan Paul who has a groin injury.

Beckman, who is in his third season at Toledo, was an assistant under Jim Tressel at Ohio State and Urban Meyer at Bowling Green and counts them among his greatest influences in coaching.

He also said he's tried to model some of the things he does after Boise State, Utah and TCU - non-BCS programs that have set the standard for success.

"They're BCS busters," he said. "That's what we're looking for."

Marrow said Beckman doesn't miss a chance to point out what those other schools have done.

"He reminds us of where we should be, where we could be," Marrow said. "It's definitely getting close. We almost had a taste of it Saturday."











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