The Toledo Rockets took in the sites in the nation’s capital and then visited the end zone repeatedly en route to a 42-41 win over Air Force in the Military Bowl in RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
The UT defense and special teams joined the offense in putting points on the board during the explosive game.It took more than eight minutes before either team could light up the scoreboard. Then the Rockets ignited, scoring two touchdowns in 16 seconds.
Toledo went up 7-0 when quarterback Terrance Owens threw a 17-yard pass to sophomore receiver Bernard Reedy during the team’s second possession of the contest.
The Falcons fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Toledo cashed in the turnover on a 41-yard run by running back Adonis Thomas to go up 14-0.
Air Force found the end zone when quarterback Tim Jefferson kept the ball on a third-and-13 play and ran 22 yards to score with 2:29 left in the first quarter.
Eric Page then fielded the kickoff and ran 87 yards to score a touchdown. It was the fourth time in the junior’s career that he returned a kick to the end zone. The extra point put the Rockets up 21-7 with 2:17 left in the opening quarter.The Falcons roared back when fullback Mike DeWitt ran three yards to pick up six.
Air Force tied Toledo 21-21 with 9:43 left in the second quarter.
Toledo answered as Owens connected again with Reedy, this time for a 48-yard pass, to put the Rockets up 28-21 with 7:49 to go before halftime.
The Falcons recovered a Toledo fumble and then scored when Jefferson threw a 37-yard pass to tie the game, 28-28.
Combined, the teams put up 475 yards of offense in the first half. The 56 points were the most scored in the first half of a bowl game since 2004.
Toledo’s defense broke the deadlock in the third quarter when safety Jermaine Robinson intercepted a pass and ran 37 yards to score.
Air Force took seven plays to go 50 yards in 2:57 to tie the game for the third time, 35-35 with 5:59 left in the third quarter.
With 5:01 left in the game, it was Owens to Reedy for another touchdown, this time on a 33-yard pass. That made the score 42-35.
The Falcons flew down the field again to make it 42-41 with 52 seconds left in the contest. On a fake extra point attempt, Rocket Jayrone Elliott hit the ball out of the runner’s hand to foil the two-point conversion.
Reedy was named the player of the game with four receptions — three for touchdowns — and 126 yards.
Owens threw for 210 yards, and Thomas carried the ball 22 times for 108 yards. It was the fifth straight game Thomas ran for more than 100 yards.
It was the first victory for Toledo Head Coach Matt Campbell, who took over the top post Dec. 12. At age 32, he is the youngest coach in Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.
The Rockets finish the season at 9-4.
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