Junior Mitchell Guadagni completed 11 of 16 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns in his debut at quarterback as Toledo rolled to a 66-3 victory over Virginia Military Institute before 24,136 at the Glass Bowl Saturday night.
The 66 points is the second time the Rockets have scored at least 60 points in a contest under third-year Head Coach Jason Candle, and the sixth time UT has cracked the 50-point mark in his reign. It is the largest margin of victory since an 88-0 shellacking over Davis & Elkins in 1951.Sophomore Shakif Seymour and redshirt freshman Bryant Koback rushed for two touchdowns apiece, while senior Cody Thompson caught one TD and recovered a blocked punt for another. The Rockets outgained VMI, 603-232, and led at halftime, 42-3.
Toledo’s defense came up with several big plays, forcing three turnovers and limiting the Keydets to 61 yards rushing on 31 attempts.
The Rockets opened the scoring with a big play by the special teams early in the first quarter when Thompson blocked a punt deep in VMI territory, taking it off the foot of the punter and strolling into the end zone for a touchdown. After the UT defense forced a three-and-out, the offense needed just five plays to find the end zone. Thompson caught a 21-yard pass to the VMI two-yard line, then sophomore Shakif Seymour finished it off with a one-yard TD plunge to make it 14-0 Toledo with 7:25 left in the opening quarter.
Moments later, junior Diontae Johnson made it 21-0 with a 48-yard TD catch from Guadagni. Johnson caught a short pass, made a cut to his right to elude a defender, then sprinted down the sideline for the score.Toledo upped its lead to 28-0 early in the second quarter on a one-yard run by Koback. His TD was set up by an interception by senior cornerback Ka’dar Hollman at the VMI 33-yard line. Following a 28-yard field goal that cut the lead to 28-3, Seymour scored his second TD of the game, this time from four yards out, to make it 35-3 with 4:58 left in the half.
On Toledo’s next possession, Thompson scored his second TD of the game on a 38-yard bomb from Guadagni to give the Rockets a 42-3 halftime edge.
The Rockets continued to pour it on in the second half, scoring on a 57-yard scoring strike from Guadagni to Jon’Vea Johnson, a 16-yard run by Koback and a 15-yard run by sophomore Nevone McCrimmon to push the margin to 63-3.
In the fourth quarter, playing with mostly reserves, Toledo’s defense kept VMI off the scoreboard. The Keydets moved the ball to the UT 28-yard line on its first possession before losing the ball on downs. Senior Jameson Vest finished off the scoring with a 29-yard field goal with 1:51 left.
The Rockets have a bye next week, giving them an extra week to prepare for No. 8 Miami (Fla.) in the Glass Bowl Saturday, Sept. 15.