Both coaches are expecting an enthusiastic turnout Saturday when No. 21 Miami (1-1) takes on unranked Toledo (1-0) Saturday in the Rockets’ Glass Bowl home.
“It’ll be wild,” Miami’s Mark Richt said. “We’ll get everything they’ve got. I’m sure they’ll have every single seat sold and they’ll be standing room only.
“Their fans are going to be ready for a great battle. They’ve been excited about this for a while.”
Toledo’s Jason Candle echoed that sentiment.
“I think everybody wanted to play this game on June 1,” Candle said. “If you ask the casual fan, I don’t think anybody even remembered we had a game before them.”
A crowd of 24,136 nearly filled the 26,038 capacity Glass Bowl for the Rockets’ 66-3 rout of VMI in the opener on Sept. 1. The fans and coaches have had extra time to get ready for this one after having a bye this past weekend.
“Let’s face it,” Richt said. “They played a game, had an open date, so the fans had time to get ready for two weeks. The coaches had time to get ready for two weeks, and the whole offseason.
“We really don’t know, for sure, what we’ll get. The only thing we do know is, historically, they don’t try to make up a whole bunch of stuff. They just line up and win. They just line up and execute.”
For Toledo, this is an opportunity to put a special mark on the season.
“The game’s not just another game,” Candle said. “Any time you hear that I think that’s coach speak. Your preparation has to be that it’s just another game and what the details of that looks like. We’re not going to sacrifice who we are Monday through Friday whether we’re playing the Dallas Cowboys or Ottawa Hill High School.
“But on game day, yeah, you’re going to have to make sure that you’re sound and you know exactly what you are doing.”
Toledo gave the Hurricanes all they could handle in last year’s meeting in Miami.
The Rockets led 16-10 at the half, and after falling behind 38-16 early in the fourth quarter, they got back to within 38-30 with just less than eight minutes left before the Hurricanes added two touchdowns for the 52-30 win.
The Rockets no longer have quarterback Logan Woodside, who passed for 342 yards and three touchdowns in that game, but Mitchell Guadagni and Eli Peters filled in nicely in the opener. They combined to go 19 of 29 for 338 passing yards against VMI.
Throw in Carter Bradley’s three completions in three attempts and the Rockets completed passes to 11 different receivers in their first game. And Diontae Johnson, who had eight receptions for 66 yards against the Hurricanes last year, had only one against VMI.
Wide receiver Desmond Phillips led the Rockets with four catches. Jon’Vea Johnson, who had five catches for 79 yards against Miami in 2017, had three receptions for 80 yards.
The Rockets ended up with 603 yards in total offense, but Candle notes it was not against a defense like Miami’s.
“Whoever made that saying up, you always get better from Week 1 to Week 2, didn’t have to play the Hurricanes in Week 2, I guess,” Candle said. “But we’re going to do our best to keep trying to get better and give it our best shot this weekend.”
Richt had the opportunity in last week’s 77-0 rout of Savannah State to play redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon and true freshman Jarren Williams at quarterback, but senior Malik Rosier will get the start at Toledo.
Rosier was 8 of 12 passing against Savannah State, ending a stretch of four consecutive sub-50-percent-completion outings, all losses.
“The bottom line is we’re going to play who we think gives us the best chance of winning,” Richt said. “That’s what we’re doing, bottom line. As long as he is that, he’ll start.
“If we think someone else gives us a better chance to win, we’ll start that guy.”