ROCKETS EDGE WESTERN MICHIGAN IN SHOOTOUT
For a second straight game, UT got into a crazy offensive contest with a MAC west foe. While the Rockets fell short against Northern Illinois, the Toledo running game was the extra spark that helped Toledo to an amazing 66-63 win over Western Michigan on Senior Night in the Glass Bowl.
"It wasn't a pretty one by any means," said UT head coach Tim Beckman. "We struggled the last two weeks against some pretty good offenses, but we definitely need to improve on defense."
The ground game rolled up 419 yards, led by senior tailback Adonis Thomas. Entering the game with a still healing broken arm, and a recently broken thumb, Thomas amassed 223 rushing yards and added another 77 receiving on 5 catches. All told, seven Rocket rushers averaged 7 yards per carry.
And when you add the total passing yards to the equation, UT had an astounding 804 yards of total offense, the second most in school history.
But it almost wasn't enough.
Western came out of the gate quickly, scoring the first fourteen points of the game. Not to be outdone, Toledo answered with three-straight touchdowns. Jerome Jones and Thomas both caught Terrance Owens passes for scores, while linebacker Dann Molls picked up a fumble and ran for another.
Western responded with two touchdowns, before UT was able to tie the score at 28 on a Morgan Williams run. That's how the first half ended.
The Broncos wasted no time getting things going in the second half, scoring 54 seconds into the third quarter on an eight-yard pass from Alex Carder to Robert Arnheim. Toledo took just 3:23 to tie the score at 35-35. Thomas finished off the nine-play drive with a one-yard run.
Toledo took the lead, 42-35, less than two minutes later on a quick score that was set up by a 75-yard pass from Owens to senior WR Kenny Stafford. David Fluellen finished off the drive with a two-yard TD plunge.
UT went to the air again, as Bernard Reedy scored on a 42-yard pass play that gave the Rockets a 14 point cushion. But it didn't last long.
A touchdown pass by Carder, and a short run for another score by the WMU quarterback knotted the score at 49 early in the fourth quarter.
Toledo scored twice, then Western, then a UT field goal and another Western Michigan touchdown.
With 1:01 remaining, and UT leading 66-63, the Broncos tried an onside kick that was recovered by the Rockets who ran out the clock.
Carder torched the Toledo defense for 548 yards and seven touchdowns, the second most by a UT opponent ever. The Rockets never figured ot how to stop the Broncos' pass game, which is disturbing since they came into the contest with an anemic running game and totaled only 87 yards on the ground against UT. Knowing that WMU was going to throw didn't help UT, and only 2 sacks against a a quarterback that threw 59 times is totally unacceptable.
Three interceptions and three lost fumbles put even more pressure on the Rocket defense that was sent reeling for the second game in a row. And all this from a WMU offense that scored only ten points against Eastern Michigan just two games ago.