Redshirt freshman Bryant Koback rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns, but it was Toledo’s defense that dominated in UT’s 51-13 victory over Central Michigan on Senior Day in the Glass Bowl Friday.
The Rockets held the Chippewas to just 181 yards of total offense. Their bid for their first shutout in 18 years was spoiled when CMU scored on a 53-yard fumble recovery late in the game. Central then punched in a final score with 43 seconds left in the game.Toledo finishes the regular season with a 7-5 record (5-3 Mid-American Conference). The Rockets, who clinched their ninth consecutive winning season, will wait to see what their possible bowl destination will be. Most bowl berths will be announced Sunday, Dec. 2, though some announcements could come as early as this weekend.
UT dominated the action from beginning to end, outgaining the Chippewas, 473-181, in total offense. The Rocket D held CMU to 48 yards rushing in 32 attempts, and just 62 total yards in the first half. Toledo had six sacks, 13 tackles for loss, and scored on an interception by senior linebacker Tyler Taafe. Taafe led Toledo with nine tackles to go along with his interception, while senior Richard Olekanma added eight tackles and two tackles for loss. Senior defensive end Tuzar Skipper had two sacks among his five tackles, and senior cornerback Ka’dar Hollman had a career-high four pass breakups.
Koback gained 121 of his 124 rushing yards in the first half as Toledo cruised to a 24-0 lead at the break. Junior Art Thompkins added 51 yards and one score. Sophomore quarterback Eli Peters completed 14 of 30 passes for 180 yards and one touchdown.
Toledo scored on its second possession, a nine-play, 72-yard drive that was capped by a one-yard run by Thompkins. The big play on the drive was a 24-yard completion from Peters to Jon’Vea Johnson to the CMU two-yard line. Cody Thompson set up Toledo’s next score with a 32-yard punt return to the CMU 37-yard line. Four plays later, Koback punched it in from one yard out to make the score 14-0 with 6:01 left in the first quarter.
Jameson Vest made it 17-0 Toledo with a 33-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter. Later in the quarter, Koback struck again, this time from seven yards out to increase the lead to 24-0 with 7:37 to play in the half.
In the third quarter, Toledo scored on the first play from scrimmage when Taafe picked off a deflected pass and rambled 21 yards for the score. It was Taafe’s second pick six in as many weeks after going his entire career (49 games) without an interception. The lead increased to 37-0 on a 44-yard bomb from Peters to Jon’Vea Johnson late in the quarter.
Sophomore Shakif Seymour continued Toledo’s scoring barrage with a 12-yard rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter. CMU then spoiled UT’s shutout bid when defensive lineman Mike Danna picked up a fumble by freshman quarterback Cross Wilkinson and rumbled 53 yards for the score. Toledo answered on the very next play from scrimmage with a 45-yard TD run by sophomore Nevon McCrimmon to make the score 51-6. Central finished the scoring with a 12-yard TD pass from George Pearson to Jack Combs with 43 seconds left. On Toledo’s final offense snap, Head Coach Jason Candle put 11 seniors on the field to handle the victory formation. Senior Jalen Reese took a knee to end the game.
The Rockets end their regular season and will await word on a possible bowl berth.