TOLEDO, Ohio – Mid-American Conference football has seen some great receivers.
Western Michigan’s Greg Jennings and Marshall’s Randy Moss are two names that come to mind.
He might not end up being in the same class as those two, but Toledo freshman Eric Page should be giving MAC defenses nightmares for the foreseeable future.
NIU’s defense had no answer for Page in Saturday’s 20-19 loss, as he torched the Huskies with 10 catches for 127 yards. He also had a 41-yard punt return in the first quarter, which led to the Rockets taking a 7-0 lead on a DaJuane Collins touchdown run.
Page was all over the place, and NIU’s defense didn’t have an answer for him.
“I was impressed with him,” NIU coach Jerry Kill said. “He’s a good return guy, makes a lot of plays out in space. He did a good really job.”
The 5-foot-10, 165 pound Page already has an impressive resume through his first seven games, with 767 yards receiving and six touchdown catches.
Page’s 127-yard effort in Toledo’s win over the Huskies was his fifth game with over 100 yards receiving.
“He played pretty well, we knew he was a good player,” NIU linebacker Cory Hanson said.
Hanson added that Page was also able to break a few tackles.
“I think it was more us than him. We missed a few tackles on him, let him get leverage on us a few times,” Hanson said. “I think we just have to tackle better and that’s just a testament to our team coming out and being ready for the game.
“He’s a good player though. I don’t want to take anything away from him.”
Page’s biggest reception of the game was a 21-yard catch in the fourth quarter.
Alex Pettee had just replaced Rockets quarterback Austin Dantin, who left the game with an ankle injury. On his first passing attempt of the game on second-and-seven, Pettee found Page near the sideline at the NIU 14-yard line.
The Rockets would take the lead three plays later on a Collins 4-yard touchdown run, which proved to be the game winner with 7:05 left in the contest.
“Give them credit,” Kill said. “They made some plays and we didn’t make the plays at the end.”