The Rockets scored first — and last — in a wild game as Toledo beat the Iowa State Cyclones, 30-23, in double overtime in the Glass Bowl Saturday night.
For the second week in a row, UT recorded a high-profile victory, this one in a nationally televised game on ESPNews against a Big 12 team from a Power Five conference.On Sept. 12, the Rockets upset No. 18 Arkansas, 16-12, in Little Rock. It was Toledo’s first win over a team from the Southeastern Conference.
UT fans were fired up for the return of their team — and for star running back Kareem Hunt, who played his first game of the season. The first time he touched the ball, the junior rumbled for 39 yards.
That run helped set up a 31-yard field goal by freshman kicker Jameson Vest to put the Rockets up 3-0 at the 11:39 mark in the first quarter.
Iowa State evened the score with a 35-yard field goal with 6:38 left in the first quarter.
The Rockets started their second possession on their own 10-yard line. UT marched down the field with 13 plays in a little more than five minutes. Quarterback Phillip Ely threw a 29-yard pass to wide receiver Alonzo Russell to make it first and goal. That reception continued Russell’s streak of 40 straight games with a catch.
Ely went back to Russell, who made a 3-yard grab for a touchdown with about one minute remaining in the opening quarter. With the extra point, the Rockets were up, 10-3.
The two teams battled back and forth until UT wide receiver Cody Thompson blocked a punt and carried it to the 1-yard line of Iowa State.
The Cyclones defense kept the Rockets out of the end zone, but Vest booted a 19-yard field goal to make it 13-3 at the 7:17 mark in the second quarter.
Iowa State answered less than four minutes later, cutting the score to 13-10.
The Cyclones were driving deep in Rocket territory before halftime, but UT safety Rolan Milligan popped the ball loose and the fumble was recovered by defensive back Connery Swift.
Toledo motored down the field, powered by a 34-yard run by Hunt and a 13-yard reception by wide receiver Corey Jones. However, the drive stalled and Vest missed a field goal right before halftime.
Iowa State appeared to have stopped the Rockets on their opening drive of the second half, but a penalty gave Toledo a first down.
The Rockets capitalized on that penalty, cruising down the field with help from a 16-yard catch by Jones and several carries by Hunt, who for the 12th straight game ran for more than 100 yards. He left the game with 129 yards in overtime.
With third and goal on the 2-yard line, Ely kept the ball and fumbled, but it was recovered by tight end Alex Zmolik for a touchdown. With the extra point, Toledo was up 20-10 at the 3:23 mark in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Cyclones, who scored a touchdown with 11:23 on the clock to make it 20-17.
Less than six minutes later, Iowa State tied up the game, 20-20, with a 46-yard field goal.
The Cyclones held the Rockets and got the ball back and went 60 yards in 14 plays to set up a potential game-winning field goal. The 32-yard attempt was wide as the last seconds ticked off the clock.
In overtime, the Cyclones got the ball first and drilled a 46-yard field goal to go up 23-20.
Vest then kicked a 42-yard field goal to tie it up again, 23-23.
In double overtime, the Rockets got the ball first and junior running back Damion Jones-Moore scored on a 10-yard touchdown run. Vest’s extra point made it 30-23.
Toledo’s defense shut down the Cyclones on fourth and goal to seal the big victory.
The Rockets are 2-0 and will play Arkansas State Saturday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. in the Glass Bowl. Toledo beat the Red Wolves, 63-44, in last year’s GoDaddy Bowl.