Junior quarterback Mitchell Guadagni’s arm and legs kept Toledo in the game in its matchup with No. 21 Miami (Fla.), but ultimately the Rockets could not keep up the pace, falling to the Hurricanes, 49-24, before a sell-out crowd of 28,117 in the Glass Bowl Saturday.
After a slow start, Guadagni threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns, and also extended drives by running the ball. He rallied the Rockets from a 21-0 deficit in the first half to make it a close game before Miami pulled away in the fourth quarter.Guadagni hit junior wide receiver Diontae Johnson with a 40-yard TD to cut the lead to 28-21 with 7:39 to play in the third quarter. But the Hurricanes answered with four consecutive touchdowns to put the game away.
Johnson led all receivers with six receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
Guadagni led Toledo rushers with 47 net yards, including 77 yards on runs and minus-30 on sacks.
Miami got on the board on its first possession, a 12-play, 76-yard drive that was capped off by a five-yard quarterback draw by quarterback Malik Rosier. Both teams traded punts for the remainder of the quarter.
Miami made it 14-0 on a 38-yard completion from Rosier to Jeff Thomas with 12:27 left in the second quarter.
Toledo countered with a nine-play drive that stalled on the Miami 25-yard line, but failed to cash in when Jameson Vest’s 42-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.
The Hurricanes upped the lead to 21-0 a short time later on another rushing TD from Rosier, this time from two yards out.Toledo got on the scoreboard just before halftime on a seven-yard TD grab by Diontae Johnson from Guadagni with 37 seconds left in the half.
As the sun came out to greet the Rockets to start the third quarter, UT responded on both sides of the ball. The Rocket defense forced a three-and-out on Miami’s first possession, then the offense marched down the field to cut the lead to a touchdown. The big play on the drive was a 31-yard catch and run by Art Thompkins to the Miami five yard line. Thompkins took it in the end zone on the ground on the next play to make the score 21-14.
Miami came right back, however, scoring in five plays to extend its lead to 28-14. The big play on the drive was an over-the-head catch by Jeff Thomas for a 41-yard gain. DeeJay Dallas scored from 19 yards out on a run up the middle on the next play.
The Rockets wouldn’t quit, however, striking quickly on a 40-yard TD from Guadagni to Diontae Johnson to trim the lead to 28-21.
But the Hurricane offense continued to roll, marching 70 yards in 14 plays on their next possession, capped by a five-yard scoring pass from Rosier to Lawrence Cager with 1:28 left in the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Miami tacked on two more touchdowns to increase its lead to 49-24. Rosier ran for 37 yards for the first score, while Trayone Gray pushed across the goal line from one-yard out.
The Rockets will host Nevada Saturday, Sept. 22, at noon in the Glass Bowl.