Rockets to host No. 24 Missouri in battle to be broadcast on national TV

September 3, 2014 | Athletics, Events
By Paul Helgren

The Toledo Rockets answered a lot of questions in their 54-20 rout of New Hampshire on Aug. 30. Now comes a bigger test for Matt Campbell’s crew when they take on No. 24 Missouri in the Glass Bowl Saturday, Sept. 6., at noon.

Junior wide receiver Alonzo Russell caught six passes for 78 yards.

Junior wide receiver Alonzo Russell caught six passes for 78 yards.

The game will be televised live by ESPN.

Junior quarterback Phillip Ely, a transfer from Alabama, was sharp in his debut as a Rocket, leading the offense to 666 total yards. Ely connected on 24 of 34 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns to rally Toledo from a 14-3 deficit.

From the middle of the second quarter until late in the game, Toledo scored eight consecutive times and outscored the Wildcats 51-6. Ely completed passes to nine different receivers and did not throw an interception.

Sophomore Kareem Hunt (136 yards, two TDs) led a running attack that piled up 314 yards.

After giving up two early touchdowns, Toledo’s defense kept the Wildcats out of end zone in eight of their final nine possessions.

The Rockets will need that kind of production on both sides of the ball in order to compete with the Tigers, the defending Southeastern Conference East Division champions. Missouri (1-0) dispatched South Dakota State, 38-18, last week.

The Jackrabbits had cut the lead to 21-18 in the third quarter when Mizzou senior Marcus Murphy returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, effectively ending SDSU’s hopes for the upset.

Missouri sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk threw for three touchdowns without an interception, while junior Russell Hansbrough rushed for 126 yards and a score.

As if a national TV audience wasn’t enough to make this a big game for UT, the contest also features the return of former Rocket head coach Gary Pinkel, now in his 14th season at Missouri. Pinkel coached at Toledo from 1991 to 2000 and is the school’s all-time victory leader with 73 wins.

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