TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- Growing up and playing within the shadow of the Big Ten, Toledo safety Andy Boyd knows what a victory over Minnesota would mean.
"We've been talking about this for a long, long time," said Boyd, a three-year starter. "But this isn't anything new to us."
The Rockets are 2-1 against the Big Ten since 1997 with wins over Penn State and Purdue. That one loss came in 1998 against top-ranked Ohio State.
"That's something we're very proud of," Boyd said. "This is predominantly Big Ten country."
There's more on the line, though, than bragging rights.
The Rockets, with 18 starters returning, are thinking that a second straight opening game victory over a Big Ten school could propel them to another big season.
Toledo finished 10-1 in 2000 after starting with a victory at Penn State yet was left out of a bowl game and the Mid-American Conference's title game.
First-year coach Tom Amstutz, a longtime Toledo assistant, said games against the Big Ten can only help the program.
"We have to earn respect," said Amstutz, who took over when Gary Pinkel left for Missouri. "Every year in our conference at this time, they're still asking us to prove ourselves in the season.
"We get overlooked, but we can make up for that on the field."
Amstutz has installed a fast-break offense.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.