MIAMI -- The good news for the Toledo Rockets is that the third-ranked Miami Hurricanes will be a bit distracted entering their game Saturday night in the Orange Bowl.
The bad news is that even if Miami isn't concentrating too hard on the Rockets and their unimpressive 3-6-1 record, the Hurricanes should be able to post their 30th straight regular season victory without much difficulty. Miami is such a prohibitive favorite in its third 1987 meeting with an Ohio school that oddsmakers have refused to make a line on the game.
'We're a little overmatched,' Toledo Coach Dan Simrell said. 'I tried to find some chinks in their armor, but I haven't found them yet.'
Miami already has defeated Cincinnati and Miami of Ohio this year en route to an 8-0 record. Saturday night, the Hurricanes will accept a bid to play the Oklahoma-Nebraska winner in the Orange Bowl Jan. 1, and their next game, Nov. 28 with No. 7 Notre Dame, looms as a key one in the national championship picture.
So what about Toledo?
'All I know is Toledo is a well-coached football team,' Miami Coach Jimmy Johnson said. 'They were 7-4 a year ago. The main concern is that we've got to go out there and play our ball game. Our biggest concern, as it is every week, is the University of Miami, not any opponent.'
Toledo runs an I-formation and is without its leading rusher, David Rohrs, who is out with a back injury, and all three of its quarterbacks have missed time because of injuries. Either Steve Keene, Mark Melfi, or Bill Bergan could start against the Hurricanes, and all three could end up playing.
'I don't know myself (who will start at quarterback),' Simrell said. 'I lost three of them last week. That's my advantage and not Miami's. I'm not trying to be coy, I really don't know.'
Bergan leads the three with 908 yards passing, and fullback John Perry is the leading receiver with 27 catches. Neil Trotter gained 116 yards rushing last week against Central Michigan, but the Rocket offense is averaging a paltry 15.1 points per game.
Miami will be out to prove last week's lackluster 27-13 win over Virginia Tech was an aberration. The Hokies showed the Hurricanes vulnerable to stopping the run, but Toledo may not have enough size on the line to take advantage of it, with the exception of right tackle Ken Moyer, a 6-7, 287-pound junior.
Quarterback Steve Walsh has thrown for 1,572 yards and 16 touchdowns, and receiver Michael Irvin has 30 catches and five scores. Warren Williams leads Miami with 554 yards on the ground, and freshman Leonard Conley is averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
'I don't think we'll look too far ahead,' Walsh said. 'I'm concentrating totally on Toledo. We had such a poor performance against Virginia Tech, so we're looking forward to going out on the field and proving we're better than we looked. We're not looking to put up 100 points or anything, we're just going out to win.'