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Report: Jim McElwain ‘strong contender’ for Michigan job

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This past week, a pair of reports surfaced that had former Florida head coach Jim McElwain interviewing for a vacancy on Jim Harbaugh‘s Michigan staff.  As the weekend chugs along, that chatter isn’t dissipating at all.

Bruce Feldman of SI.com tweeted Saturday night that Toledo offensive coordinator Brian Wright took his name out of the running for the job coaching Wolverines wide receivers.  Harbaugh has a vacancy he’s looking to fill after Dan Enoshired in early Januaryleft for a job at Alabama later that month.

In the same tweet, Feldman also noted that McElwain “is a strong contender” to fill the void created by Enos’ departure.

Under the direction of offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, Michigan’s offense was tied for 91st nationally in averaging 25.2 points per game this past season.  At least one of the initial reports connecting McElwain to U-M had the coach taking over as the play-caller on offense.

In his three seasons at Florida, however, the Gators’ offense finished 109th (22.1 ppg, 2017), 107th (23.9 ppg, 2016) and 99th (23.2) in scoring.  Those numbers were with McElwain as head coach; calling plays at Alabama under the notoriously conservative Nick Saban from 2008-11, the Crimson Tide’s numbers went…

2008 — 30.1 ppg, 35th nationally
2009 — 32.1 ppg, 22nd
2010 — 35.5 ppg, 18th
2011 — 34.8 ppg, 20th

One situation’s not like the other, but McElwain could end up being yet another poster boy for the Peter Principle — something that Harbaugh’s interest indicates he’s at least considering when it comes to breathing some much-needed life into a limp offense.

Former Florida State OL Brock Ruble transfers to Toledo

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Jason Candle has added a very experienced Power Five offensive lineman to his Toledo football roster.

According to the Toledo Blade, the Rockets confirmed this week that Brock Ruble has transferred into Candle’s UT program from Florida State.  As a graduate transfer, the offensive lineman will be eligible to play for the Rockets immediately in 2018.

Ruble had announced back in December that he would be transferring from SU after graduating from the university.

A three-star member of the Seminoles’ 2014 recruiting class, Ruble was rated as the No. 14 player at any position in the state of Maryland.  After redshirting his true freshman season, Ruble started 13 games at right tackle the next two years.

This past season, Ruble played in 10 games at both guard and tackle, although he didn’t record a start.

Toledo WR Cody Thompson announces return to school for 2018

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Toledo won the MAC in 2017, and the Rockets’ 2018 title defense has already received its first boost.Wide receiver Cody Thompson announced Tuesday he will return to school for his senior season.

Thompson made the announcement on his Twitter account. “After much thought and discussion with my family about my future, I have decided I am going to take my 5th year and play one more season at Toledo,” Thompson wrote. “I couldn’t be more excited about this decision, one more season in midnight blue & gold to bring another MAC championship trophy back to Toledo!”

Thompson played in only five games this fall after suffering a season-ending leg injury against Eastern Michigan on Oct. 7. He finished the year with 28 grabs for 537 yards and four touchdowns, which still ranked third on the club despite missing nine games.

He led the club as a freshman and a sophomore in catches and receiving yards. As a freshman in 2015, Thompson hauled in 37 grabs for 825 yards and five scores, and upped all of those numbers in ’16, snaring 64 balls for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Toledo will lose starting quarterback Logan Woodside and backup Michael Julian to graduation, so Thompson’s return will help ease the transition to a new quarterback as the Rockets look to repeat as MAC champions.

Appalachian State routs Toledo to win the Dollar General Bowl

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On paper, the Dollar General Bowl between MAC champion Toledo and perennial Sun Belt power Appalachian State shaped up to be one of the best matchups of the postseason. Games are not played on paper and that certainly played out down in Mobile, Ala. as the Mountaineers routed the Rockets 34-0 on Saturday night to cap off another season with at least nine wins for head coach Scott Satterfield.

It was quickly apparent that this wasn’t Toledo’s night early — and often. Despite entering the week with an offense that was in the top in the country in terms of scoring, the team couldn’t do much of anything on that side of the ball and recorded four three-and-outs. Record-setting quarterback Logan Woodside never could find much down the field and was pressure on nearly every drop back, throwing for only 124 yards while also tossing three interceptions. Running back Terry Swanson managed 44 hard-fought yards on the ground but didn’t see many carries down the stretch as the team fell further and further behind.

While not much was working for the visitors from the North, few things could go wrong for AppState. Taking advantage of several short fields, the run game didn’t need much to get going and tailbacks Jalin Moore (125 yards, three TDs) and Daetrich Harrington (72 yards) both made quick work of the MAC title holders. Quarterback Taylor Lamb closed out his career with the Mountaineers with a performance that may not have been statically stellar — eight completions, 131 yards, no touchdowns — but was nevertheless plenty in a game the team controlled from pretty much the opening kickoff.

While all those points were nice to have, they didn’t really need all of them given how well the Sun Belt’s top defense looked to stymie their opponents. Linebacker Anthony Flory was all over the place, hauling in a pick and recording eight tackles on the night as they held the most dangerous #MACtion offense to under 200 yards.

That gave the team yet another finishing kick as they won their fourth in a row to close out 2017 and enter with plenty of momentum heading to next season. The same could not be said for the Rockets, which still captured an elusive conference title this year but simply didn’t show up in the Dollar General Bowl and looked out of sorts from start.

Appalachian State rolls to big lead over Toledo as Dollar General Bowl hits halftime

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When #FunBelt meets #MACtion, you throw out the records. That is especially true on Saturday night at the Dollar General Bowl.

Appalachian State looked like they were the 11-win team and conference champion in the game, rolling to a 20-0 halftime lead over Toledo thanks to some timely turnovers and the hard-nosed running of their star tailback.

Junior Jalin Moore picked up where he left off at the end of the regular season by fighting for 74 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 15 touches, grinding out carries against a loaded front and finding some rhythm as the game went on. That took the pressure off quarterback Taylor Lamb, who was just 4-of-8 for 61 yards but seemed fairly content to just hand the ball off — especially with backup Daetrich Harrington also running for 80 yards in the half on just seven carries.

The Mountaineers’ defense played their role in the big lead too, forcing a pair of turnovers that gave the team two short fields and generally limiting the high-powered Rockets offense to one of their worst performances of the year. Record-setting quarterback Logan Woodside managed only 76 yards and an interception but did seem to pick things up as the clock wound down in the second quarter. Running back Terry Swanson didn’t have any sort of lane to run through however and actually did well in recording 12 yards on the ground given that he was hit in the backfield or at the line on just about every carry.

While things didn’t quite unfold how many expected early in the game, Toledo is still plenty capable of putting up some points in a hurry so this one is by no means locked up for AppState. This was one of the better matchups of bowl season and that will be put to the test if things get interesting after the two teams emerge from the locker room.