Despite the loss of two stars, the Toledo Rockets gave No. 18 Utah State all it could handle before losing, 41-15, at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise Saturday.Senior linebacker Dan Molls, the nation’s leading tackler, was knocked out of the game with a concussion on the game’s opening kickoff. A short while later, junior running back David Fluellen reinjured his sore left ankle and never returned.
Despite those losses, Toledo was in the game well into the fourth quarter, trailing just 13-9 before a 63-yard touchdown run by USU’s Kerwynn Williams put the game on ice just under the seven-minute mark. Williams then followed with two more scoring runs of five and 25 yards to finish the game with 18 carries for 235 yards.
Senior quarterback Austin Dantin, who played the first three quarters, completed 12 of 21 attempts for 132 yards with two interceptions for the Rockets. Junior quarterback Terrance Owens played most of the fourth quarter and was 5 of 16 for 26 yards. Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton threw for 229 yards and completed 21 of 31 pass attempts.
Junior wide receiver Bernard Reedy led the Rockets in both rushing and receiving, finishing with a career-high 10 carries for 50 yards on the ground and six catches for 62 yards in the air. He was honored following the game as Toledo’s Most Valuable Player.
Toledo opened up the game with a trick play, a flea flicker from Dantin to Reedy that was good for 36 yards. The play set up a 37-yard field goal by sophomore Jeremiah Detmer to give Toledo a 3-0 lead. Utah State struck back later in the first quarter when Keeton faked a pitch on the option and then bolted 62 yards for the score to give the Aggies a 7-3 edge.
The Rockets cut the lead to 7-6 on another 37-yard field goal by Detmer with 9:57 to play in the first half. Utah State closed out the scoring in the first 30 minutes with 27-yard field by Nick Diaz to give the Aggies a 10-6 lead at the break.
Utah State extended its lead to 13-6 on its first possession of the second half on a 44-yard field goal by Diaz. Toledo then drove to the USU 15-yard line before Aggie linebacker Kyler Fackrell intercepted a deflected pass to snuff out the drive.
Toledo had a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but Owens was stopped on fourth-and-one on the USU nine-yard line. Toledo got the ball right back when Jermaine Robinson scooped up a fumble by Williams and returned it to the USU 29-yard line. The Rockets had to settle for three points on a 29-yard field goal to cut the Aggie lead to 13-9 with 7:28 to play.
Two plays later Williams made up for his fumble by rolling 63 yards for a USU touchdown and a 20-9 Aggie lead with 6:57 to play. Reedy answered a third Williams scoring run with an 87-yard kickoff return with 3:29 remaining.