Redshirt freshman Bryant Koback ran for a season-high 192 yards and two touchdowns to lead Toledo to a 56-34 victory over Kent State at wintry Dix Stadium in Kent Thursday night.
It was the sixth win of the season for Toledo (6-5, 4-3 Mid-American Conference), making the Rockets bowl eligible for the ninth consecutive season. It also was the fifth time this season Toledo topped the 50-point mark, a school record.Junior Art Thompkins added 122 yards and two scores to Toledo’s running attack, which racked up a season-high 384 yards. Sophomore quarterback Eli Peters completed 11 of 14 passes for 131 yards and two scores. Junior Diontae Johnson helped the cause with an 83-yard punt return just before halftime that gave Toledo a 28-17 lead going into the locker room. Toledo then scored three quick touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 49-17 lead that ended Kent State’s hopes of an upset on a night that featured rain, sleet and snow.
Kent State opened the scoring on its first possession with a four-play, 52-yard drive that was capped by a seven-yard touchdown run by quarterback Woody Barrett.
Toledo answered with a 31-yard TD run by junior Thompkins. After the Golden Flashes went three-and-out, Toledo responded with a nine-play, 85-yard drive to give the Rockets a 14-7 lead. Peters finished off the drive with a three-yard pass to junior tight end Reggie Gilliam.
Koback made it 21-7 with a 44-yard TD run on third-and-six play on UT’s first possession of the second quarter. Kent trimmed the lead to 21-10 on a 27-yard field goal by Matthew Trickett with 11:09 left in the half. After a Toledo drive stalled, KSU struck again, this time on a 19-yard TD pass from Barrett to Isiah McKoy. With three minutes left in the half, Diontae Johnson returned a punt 83 yards for the score, rebuilding the UT lead to 28-17.
In the third quarter, Toledo got off to a quick start, scoring on a 15-yard run by Koback that moved its lead to 35-17. On the very next play from scrimmage, senior linebacker Tyler Taafe picked off Barrett and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. Moments later, Peters hit Jon’Vea Johnson over the middle for a 55-yard touchdown to make the score 49-17 with 10:06 left in the quarter. Kent State countered with a 76-yard TD run by Jo-el Shaw to trim the lead to 49-24. Moments later, the Flashes connected on a 38-yard field goal to cut the margin to 49-27.
Thompkins shouldered the load on Toledo’s next drive, moving the ball downfield on a 43-yard run at the end of the third quarter before finishing off the sequence with a one-yard score on the first play of the fourth period. Kent State finished off the night with a late score on a short flip TD pass from Dustin Crum to Mike Carrigan.
Up next, the Rockets will close out the regular season vs. Central Michigan Friday, Nov. 23, at the Glass Bowl. Kickoff is set for noon.
For tickets, go to the Toledo Rockets website, call 419.530.GOLD (4653), or stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office in Savage Arena. UT employees and retirees may purchase tickets at half-price; UT students are admitted free with ID.