Jerjuan Newton
Toledo WR Jerjaun Newton is expected to be star QB DeQuan's top pass target (PHOTO CREDIT: Toledo Athletics)

Toledo Could Have a Down Year in the MAC

A preview for the Toledo Rockets season and their potential for another MAC title or downfall this upcoming season.

After a long wait, Mid-American Conference football will return, with the Toledo Rockets looking for another MAC title. This year could have a different outlook for the Rockets, as their rivals will be improving this season. Here is a peek into the upcoming Toledo season.  

Toledo 2023 Preview

The conference: Mid-American Conference (West Division)

2022 record: 9-5

Conference finish: 5-3

Head coach: Jason Candle (seventh season at school, 54-32 record)  

Five all-star candidates: Dequan Finn, quarterback (2,260 yards passing, 23 touchdowns); Jerjuan Newton, wide receiver (830 receiving yards, 9 receiving touchdowns); Jacquez Stuart, running back (770 rushing yards, 4 rushing touchdowns); Adrian Woliver, linebacker (4.5 sacks, 24 tackles); Devin Maddox, wide receiver (548 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns) 

The newcomer: Travion Ford, defensive end (Missouri transfer) (two tackles in 2021) 

The Breakdown

Expectations will be high for the Toledo Rockets this season after winning the MAC title and the Boca Raton Bowl in 2022. Even though they had a hot streak of winning key games, they are dealing with a slew of departures, specifically at defensive back. The offense will still be good with the weapons they got from the portal. This season for the Rockets could be insane with some disappointment.

For this upcoming season, the Rockets lost top players to the transfer portal, including Desjuan Johnson for the defensive line. Toledo has also lost some backups for the secondary, which could harm the defense if injuries occur. The Rockets have also lost some offensive linemen to the transfer portal. 

On offense, Toledo is still a threat, with dual-threat quarterback Dequan Finn being a potential monster for the offense. If this team is to fulfill its expectations, the offense will be a key factor for Toledo this season. 

DeQuan Finn

Toledo Rockets quarterback Dequan Finn. (Photo credit: Toledo Athletics)

The Key Game and Why

The key game for the Toledo Rockets will be against Eastern Michigan late in the season and could determine the division title. With Eastern Michigan improving vastly on the offense, Toledo might have a difficult time against its divisional rival. 

The Toughest Game and Why

The Rockets' most challenging game this year will be in Week 1 against Illinois. Illinois looks to be a strong team this year, and Toledo has struggled against the Big Ten. The Fighting Illini's offense should be stout this year and could be a big obstacle to Toledo's chances of winning its first game of the season.  

The Chances of Reaching the Conference Title Game

The Rockets' chances of getting to the title game are slim due to its tough first week. Toledo will need to win late games against divisional rivals if it is to have any hope of reaching the title game. 

The Prediction

Toledo will have a strong season but will not return to the MAC title game. This year, this author believes, Toledo will lose its opener and could have a weak start overall. The ceiling this year is nine wins but with some brutal losses. While the first two months besides Illinois could have winnable games, the late part of the season won't be fun for the Rockets. While Toledo will be good, it will not be playing for a title game this season.  

MORE: MAC Football Preview: Will Toledo and Ohio Have a Title Game Rematch?