The University of Toledo will open its 2014 football season with four of its first five games in the Glass Bowl.
The Rockets, who were picked to win the Mid-American Conference West Division in a media vote, will start their season vs. New Hampshire Saturday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m.
The following week, Southeastern Conference power Missouri comes to the Glass Bowl. After a road game at Cincinnati, Toledo will host consecutive Mid-American Conference games vs. Ball State Sept. 20 and Central Michigan Sept. 27.
At least four Rocket games will be carried on national television, including the Friday, Sept. 12, match-up at Cincinnati on ESPNU. Three other contests will be carried on either ESPN2 or ESPNU: Nov. 4 at Kent State, Nov. 11 at Northern Illinois and Nov. 19 vs. Bowling Green in the Glass Bowl.
The Nov. 28 game at Eastern Michigan also may be carried on ESPNU. Other games may be picked up later by national or regional TV outlets.
“We face another challenging schedule, but we’re looking forward to it,” said Matt Campbell, who is entering his third season as the Rockets’ head coach. “I think it’s good for our fans that we can open up the season with four home games in the first five weeks of the season. But we play a schedule full of tough opponents, home and away, and we’re excited for the challenge.”
Toledo’s opponent in its home opener is New Hampshire, a very strong NCAA-Football Championship Subdivision program that finished 10-5 in 2013 and advanced to the semifinals of the division playoffs.
Week two features what should be one of the biggest home games in school history, a date with Missouri and Head Coach Gary Pinkel. Pinkel coached at Toledo for 10 seasons from 1991 to 2000 and is in the school’s Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame. Last season, Missouri went 12-2, won the East Division title of the Southeastern Conference, defeated Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl, and finished the year ranked No. 5 in the nation in both major polls. The Rockets and the Tigers faced off in Columbia last season, with Mizzou coming away with a 38-23 victory.
The Rockets’ first road game of the season is the Friday night non-conference match-up vs. Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium Sept. 12. The Bearcats were 9-4 last year, 6-2 in the American Athletic Conference.
UT’s fourth and final non-conference game will be played Saturday, Oct. 11, at Iowa State (3-9, 2-7 Big 12).
Toledo’s MAC season opens with home games vs. Ball State (10-3, 7-1 MAC) Saturday, Sept. 20, and Central Michigan (6-6, 4-4) Saturday, Sept. 27. The other two league home opponents are UMass (1-11, 1-7) Saturday, Oct. 25, and archrival and defending MAC Champion Bowling Green (10-4, 7-1) Wednesday, Nov. 19.
Toledo’s league road games are at Western Michigan (2-10, 1-7) Saturday, Oct. 4; Kent State (4-8, 3-5) Tuesday, Nov. 4; Northern Illinois (12-2, 8-0) Tuesday, Nov. 11; and Eastern Michigan (2-10, 1-7) in the season finale Friday, Nov. 28.
Campbell welcomes back a solid core of players for 2014. Of the 44 players in the Rockets’ 2013 offensive and defensive two-deeps, only nine were seniors. Leading the way this season will be a top-notch offensive line that returns four of five starters, as well as a defense led by first-team All-MAC linebacker Junior Sylvestre.
Home games are free for students with IDs, and tickets are half off for UT faculty and staff. Call 419.530.GOLD (4653) for more information.