Colorado State fans, brace yourself for some future MACtion.
In twin press releases Monday, CSU and Toledo announced that the two football programs have reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series. The Rockets will travel to Fort Collins for a Sept. 21, 2019, matchup, while the Rams will make the trek to Toledo Sept. 25, 2021.
“We’re excited to secure a home-and-home series with Toledo,” said CSU head coach Mike Bobo in a statement. “It’s a program that has been a consistent winner in a tough Mid-American Conference, and played in a bowl game five of the last six seasons. They will present a significant challenge for our football team.”
“We are very pleased to add the series with Colorado State to our football schedule,” UT athletic director Mike O’Brien said. “Colorado State has an excellent football tradition and adds another attractive opponent on our future home schedule. It also helps bring our Toledo brand to new part of the country.”
The Rams and Rockets have met twice previously in football, the first in 1970 and the second in 1973. The home team claimed victory in each of those games.
Earlier this week it was reported that Florida and Miami were closing in on a deal to renew their on-field rivalry. Thursday, two former members of those programs decided to join forces for one final season at the FBS level.
In a press release, Toledo announced that defensive tackle Earl Moore and linebacker Jeremi Powell (pictured) are transferring into the Rockets football program from the Hurricanes and Gators, respectively. Both will be coming to UT as graduate transfers, meaning they will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.
This will be their final seasons of eligibility.
“We look forward to both of these young men joining the Rocket family,” said first-year head coach Jason Candle in a statement. “They will add experience and depth to our defense next fall.”
Powell, a four-star 2012 recruit, started two games for the Gators last season. He played in 25 games during his time in Gainesville.
Moore, a three-star 2012 recruit, appeared in 23 games the past two seasons.
Mother Nature has scored a spring victory over the Toledo Rockets. A snow storm blanketing the Toledo area with snow has forced the Rockets to call off their spring football game, and it will not be rescheduled. Toledo announced the cancellation early Saturday morning, but noted a youth football clinic would go on as planned.
Toledo is getting used to this sort of thing. Last year’s season opener against Stony Brook was called off after halftime due to severe weather rolling through the area. The game was delayed for three hours and called off just before the start of the second half after midnight. Toledo and Stony Brook did not reschedule the game, which Toledo led 16-7 at the time it was cancelled. The game went down in the record books as a no contest, and stats from the game were not counted as a result.
After nearly his entire coaching career was spent in Florida, Marquel Blackwell is heading north to continue it.
Toledo announced in a press release that new head coach Jason Candle has added Blackwell to his first Rockets coaching staff. Blackwell, who played his college football at USF, will coach UT’s running backs.
Blackwell replaces Anthony Johnson, who left last month to take the same job at his alma mater Texas.
“Marquel is an impressive young coach with a wide range of experiences on the offensive side of the ball,” said Candle in a statement. “We are looking forward to his contributions to our very talented group of running backs. He also has an extensive background in the state of Florida, which is one of our primary recruiting areas outside of Ohio.”
Prior to this, Blackwell’s only other coaching job outside of the state of Florida was also his only on-field job at the FBS level — running backs coach at Western Kentucky. He spent the 2015 season as a quality control specialist at Florida.
He began his coaching career at Freedom High School in Florida, ultimately taking over as head coach for the 2007-08 seasons. He spent two separate stints at his alma mater USF, 2009-11 in quality control and 2013 as director of player development.
The New York Yankees and their rivals the Boston Red Sox have done it. So have the Chicago Cubs. Now, the latter’s cross-town rivals are doing it as well.
The “it” being referenced is hosting a college football game, with the Chicago White Sox announcing Wednesday that U.S. Cellular Field will be the venue for the Nov. 9 Toledo-Northern Illinois MAC matchup. The game, dubbed the “Huskie Chi-Town Showdown,” will be the first-ever played in the 25-year history of U.S. Cellular Field.
“This is a historical moment and an outstanding day,” NIU athletic director Sean Frazier said in a statement. “Our fans have said, come back to Chicago, come to the city. Well, we’ve listened and we’re back! There are 145,000 NIU alumni living and working in Chicagoland. U.S. Cellular Field is a fantastic venue and I can’t wait for our fans to see this game in the ballpark. For years, NIU and Toledo have been featured in the November weeknight #MACtion games on ESPN, and in 2016, we are taking it to another level.”
“We are really excited to play the first ever football game at US Cellular Field,” NIU head coach Rod Carey said. “Chicago is extremely important to us and it is going to be a fun atmosphere with a midweek night game on TV against a fine opponent in Toledo. I want to thank everyone that has had a part in getting this done, beginning with our administration, the Chicago White Sox and all of the people and the board at the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. Our players will be ready to go to Chicago and play in front of a great Huskie home crowd.”
NIU and Toledo, along with Central Michigan and Western Michigan, tied for the MAC West title last season. On the basis of tiebreakers, the Huskies represented the division in the MAC championship game, the sixth straight season they’ve played for the conference title.