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2019 Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame Class to be Inducted Oct. 25

The University of Toledo Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame will induct six former student-athletes Friday, Oct. 25, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Perrysburg.

Social hour for the event will begin at 6 p.m., and dinner will follow at 7 p.m. The class also will be introduced at halftime of the Rockets’ football game vs. Eastern Michigan Saturday, Oct. 26.

The 2019 Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame inductees are, from left, Rian Pearson, Emma Kertesz, David Fluellen, Jade Montrie, Vicki Traven and Jeremy Griffiths.

Tickets for the Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame induction dinner are $45 or $360 for a table of eight and can be purchased by calling the Athletic Development Office at 419.530.5087.

The 2019 Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame inductees are:

David Fluellen, football, 2010 to 2013. He was a two-time, first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection at running back in 2012 and 2013, and ranks sixth in UToledo history with 3,336 career rushing yards. He ranks third in career yards per carry (5.95) behind Kareem Hunt and Adonis Thomas. Four times he rushed for more than 200 yards in a game, tying Chester Taylor and Hunt for the most 200-yard efforts in school history. Fluellen was a backup to Thomas in his first two seasons at Toledo, gaining 224 and 493 yards in those two years, respectively. As a junior, Fluellen busted loose for 1,498 yards, which ranked eighth in the nation that season and sixth all-time at the University; he would have had even more yards, but he sat out one game and parts of two other contests due to injuries. Fluellen had a string of six straight games over 100 yards, averaging 182.4 yards per game during that span. He was named first-team All-MAC and one of 10 national semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award as the country’s best running back. As a senior, Fluellen rushed for 1,121 yards despite missing three games and most of a fourth due to a late-season leg injury. He led the MAC with an average of 6.7 yards per carry and was 10th in the nation with an average of 124.6 rushing yards per contest. In one game vs. Western Michigan, Fluellen ran for 220 yards and four TDs. After graduation, Fluellen signed with numerous NFL teams, playing on practice squads until making his game debut in 2017 with Tennessee; he has played for the Titans ever since.

Jeremy Griffiths, baseball, 1997 to 1999. He was a three-year letter winner, earning first-team All-MAC and MAC Pitcher of the Year honors as a junior in 1999. Griffiths was dominant that season, compiling an 11-4 mark with a 2.50 ERA and a school-record 102 strikeouts. He set the UToledo record with 11 complete games in his 15 starts, racking up 97.2 innings and throwing three shutouts. Griffiths, whose 11 wins ranks second all-time at Toledo, helped the Rockets to a 39-20 record (23-9 MAC), the most wins in school history. Griffiths came on the scene as a freshman in 1997, going 2-1 with four saves out of the bullpen with a team-best 3.56 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched. As a sophomore, Griffiths moved into the starting rotation, going 5-3 and striking out 51 batters in 54.2 innings. He once again led the team with a 4.94 ERA. Griffiths left UToledo after his junior season and was drafted in the third round by the New York Mets. He pitched for the Mets in 2003 and the Houston Astros in 2004.

Emma Kertesz, women’s track and field/cross country, 2008 to 2012. A two-time All-MAC selection in track and cross country, Kertesz won four MAC titles, as well as earned All-America honors in the 10,000 meters in her career as a Rocket. As a senior in 2012, Kertesz was named Most Valuable Performer at both the MAC Indoor and Outdoor Championship meets. In the indoor meet, she won the mile, breaking the school record and MAC Championship meet record at the time, while also winning the 5,000 meters and placing third in the 3,000. Her performance helped lead Toledo to a second-place showing, its highest-ever finish at the indoor championship. In the outdoor meet, Kertesz won the steeplechase and the 5,000, again leading Toledo to a best-ever second-place finish. She earned second-team All-America honors in the 10,000 with a 16th-place finish in the 10,000 meters at the 2012 NCAA Championship Meet, and broke the MAC record in the 10,000 with a time of 33:28.58 that she set at the Stanford Invitational. As a junior, Kertesz earned second-team All-MAC with a heroic performance at the MAC Outdoor Championship. Poor weather forced her to run three distance events in one day, and she came through for the Rockets, taking second in the steeplechase, fourth in the 5,000 and fifth in the 1,500. In cross country, Kertesz helped lead Toledo to back-to-back MAC Championships in 2010 and 2011, earning all-conference and all-region honors both years. In 2011, she was runner-up at the MAC Championships and seventh at the NCAA Regionals as Toledo took third as a team. Her performance helped the Rockets qualify for the NCAA Championships, where they had their best finish in school history (21st). In 2010, Kertesz finished eighth at the conference championships and 19th at the NCAA Regionals, helping Toledo qualify for the NCAA Championships. In 2012, she represented Team USA in the Chiba Ekiden Relay in Japan and finished 12th at the USA 5K Road Championships. She qualified for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. Kertesz is the school record holder in the 10,000 and ranks in the top 10 in the 1,500, steeplechase and 5,000.

Jade Montrie, wrestling, 1987 to 1991. Montrie was a three-time Mid-American Conference Champion in 1988, 1989 and 1991, all at the 134-pound weight class. He also was a three-time NCAA qualifier. He was a team captain in 1989 and 1991, and was ranked in the top 10 nationally both seasons. Montrie participated in the University World Freestyle Tournament in 1990 in Czechoslovakia and the World Duals Tournament. After graduation, Montrie became a graduate assistant coach at Toledo from 1992 to 1994, then coached for the Michigan National Team, then became the head technique coach of the Michigan Junior Olympic Team. He also held a position as assistant wrestling coach at Bedford High School in Michigan.

Rian Pearson, men’s basketball, 2011 to 2014. Pearson was a three-time All-MAC selection from 2011 to 14, leading Toledo in scoring all three seasons. He was the first Rocket to earn all-league honors in three straight seasons since Greg Stempin (1998 to 2001). Among Rockets who played three seasons, Pearson ranks second in career points with 1,589, trailing only Steve Mix. As a senior, Pearson was named second-team All-MAC and National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District while helping the Rockets to a school-record 27 victories (27-7) and a share of the MAC regular-season title. He was eighth in the MAC with 14.6 points per game while shooting a career-best 47.9 percent from the floor. He also was sixth in the MAC in steals (1.7 steals per game) and second on the team with 5.3 rebounds per contest. As a junior, Pearson was third in the MAC with a 17.9 scoring average, gaining first-team all-conference accolades. He also ranked in the top 10 in the MAC in steals (1.7/sixth) and rebounds (6.8/eighth). After sitting out the 2010-11 season following his transfer from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Pearson was second in the MAC with 16.4 points per game, just fractions of a point behind Julian Mavunga of Miami. Pearson, a second-team All-MAC selection, also ranked third in the MAC and fifth in the nation among guards with 8.3 rebounds per game that season. After graduation, Pearson played professional basketball for three seasons.

Vicki Traven, women’s soccer, 2008 to 2011. Traven was a two-time All-MAC goalkeeper who led the Rockets to MAC Championships and NCAA appearances in 2008 and 2011, as well as a MAC regular-season title in 2010. Traven holds almost all of Toledo’s career goalkeeping records, including most victories (51), shutouts (34) and best goals-against average (0.81). She also holds season marks for victories (14 in 2008, 2010 and 2011), shutouts (10 in 2010) and goals against average (0.75 in 2008). In her four seasons at UToledo, her record in goal was 51-18-7 with a school-record 34 shutouts. In 2008, she earned MAC Freshman of the Year honors and was named to the MAC All-Freshman and All-Tournament teams. In 2010, she made second-team All-MAC while going 9-5-4 in net. In her senior season, Traven earned first-team All-MAC honors and led UToledo to regular-season and MAC Tournament titles. Traven also earned Academic All-MAC recognition in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

WNBA’s All-Time Winningest Coach to Speak at Women’s Basketball Fundraiser

WNBA Washington Mystics Head Coach and General Manager Mike Thibault will be the featured speaker for the Toledo Women’s Basketball Tipoff Event Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 6:30 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

A record-tying best three-time WNBA Coach of the Year, Thibault is the league’s all-time winningest coach. Thibault and the Mystics recently finished the regular season with the best record in the East, were the top seed in the WNBA Playoffs, and won the WNBA Championship by defeating the Connecticut Sun. It is the first championship in Washington’s franchise history.

“We’re thrilled to have such an exceptional coach join us at our event,” Toledo Head Coach Tricia Cullop said. “Mike is one of the best in the business. We feel very honored to have Mike spend the evening with our fans and program.”

The cost to attend the fundraiser is $55 per person, $100 per couple and $10 per child (age 12 and younger) with all proceeds going to the women’s basketball program.

Attendees also can purchase an eight-person table for $500 or reserve the MVP package for $1,000, which includes a reserved table for eight and a signed Toledo basketball.

Attendees will eat food donated by local restaurants while vying for numerous prizes throughout the course of the event.

For more information or to reserve your spot/table for the event, contact Director of Operations Lauren Flaum at 419.530.2363 or lauren.flaum2@utoledo.edu. RSVPs are request by Tuesday, Oct. 22.

Rockets Look to Bounce Back in Key MAC West Game at Ball State Oct. 19

Toledo (4-2, 1-1 Mid-American Conference) will play Ball State Saturday, Oct. 19, at 2 p.m. in Schuemann Stadium in Muncie, Ind. The Rockets are looking to get back on the winning track following last week’s 20-7 loss at Bowling Green.

The defeat snapped a four-game Rocket winning streak and left Toledo in the middle of the pack in the MAC West Division with a 1-1 league record.

Sophomore Bryant Koback leads the Mid-American Conference with 114.7 rushing yards per game.

Toledo fell behind early and could never get rolling against the Falcons. Bowling Green scored the first 10 points of the game and led at halftime, 17-7. Total yardage in the game was about even, with the Falcons outgaining the Rockets, 425-392, but BG made big plays on special teams, blocking a punt and a field-goal attempt.

Senior quarterback Mitchell Guadagni completed 17 of 20 passes for 194 yards, but left the game in the third quarter with an apparent injury. His status for the Ball State game is not known. Sophomore Bryant Koback led the rushing attack with 60 yards on 14 attempts.

Ball State (3-3, 2-0) opened up the conference season with consecutive road wins over Northern Illinois (27-20) and Eastern Michigan (29-23) to move into first place in the MAC West Division.

The Cardinals are led by junior quarterback Drew Plitt, who paces the MAC with 277.0 passing yards per game. Plitt has completed 65.8 percent of his passes and thrown for 13 touchdowns. Ball State’s leading rusher is junior Caleb Huntley, who ran for 152 yards in the Cardinals’ win over EMU and ranks fifth in the league with 98.7 yards per game.

Toledo Men’s and Women’s Basketball to Host ‘Tricks, Treats and Dunks’ Oct. 23

The University of Toledo will host “Tricks, Treats and Dunks,” presented by Paramount Advantage, a special basketball season preview, Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 6 p.m. in Savage Arena. Admission is free.

The evening will begin with trick-or-treating for kids from 6 to 7 p.m. at stations located on the arena concourse, and pumpkin decorating and a haunted house inside the Fetterman Practice Gym. Fans can dress in their Halloween costumes and get treats and prizes.

Free basketball schedule posters also will be provided for fans to get autographs from Toledo women’s and men’s basketball players.

At 7 p.m., the fun moves onto the recently redesigned Nichols Court, where a contest for best Halloween costumes will be judged. Prizes will be given out to best costumes for children.

Following the Halloween costume contest, the 2019-20 women’s and men’s basketball teams will be introduced. The Rockets will participate in a game of Knockout that will feature players from both teams, a Kids Club member, a UToledo student and a fan. The event will conclude with a slam-dunk contest by the men’s team.

Fans can purchase snacks from the concession stands as they watch the action and listen to music by a DJ.

In conjunction with “Tricks, Treats and Dunks,” the Residence Hall Association will host its annual Halloween Walk. Children and families will have the opportunity for more trick-or-treating in the residence halls following the conclusion of the event in Savage Arena.

The UToledo Athletic Ticket Office will be open during the event for fans who wish to purchase season tickets or who want more information about tickets. Fans also can go to the UToledo Ticket Central website or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Entrepreneurs to Compete at UToledo for $10,000 Startup Investment Oct. 24

Five local startups will present their business ideas at the eighth annual Pitch & Pour competition sponsored by The University of Toledo’s Launchpad Incubation Program.

A Wi-Fi-enabled sump pump controller, a speech-therapy device to help children pronounce the “r” sound, and a system to protect Lake Erie from pollution are among the innovations vying for the $10,000 grand prize Thursday, Oct. 24, at 5:30 p.m. in the Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex.

Teams have five minutes to pitch their business concepts to the top investors, venture capitalists, professors and business leaders in the area. Second place wins $5,000, and third place wins $2,500.

Attendees must pre-register for the free, public event at the Pitch & Pour website.

“Pitch & Pour has been a staple event for the entrepreneurial community for the past seven years, and we feel that this year’s competitors have a lot of potential for growth and success,” Brian Genide, director of incubation and venture development at UToledo, said. “We continue to work with the competitors and applicants once the event has ended. We act as advisors to ensure our entrepreneurs meet the growth milestones necessary for success.”

The 2019 Pitch & Pour teams are:

• Bite-R, a speech therapy device designed to help children produce the “r” sound. This device has been shown to reduce the time spent in speech therapy — saving schools money and improving children’s lives.

• Jaberu Sump Pump Controller, a Wi-Fi-enabled sump pump controller with a mobile app interface. The device can monitor and regulate multiple pumps, provide notifications of long cycles, and alert for high water levels and power failure.

• PedoEndo Dental Innovation, a multi-sensor, hand-held dental probe that determines the health of a tooth without the need for verbal feedback from a patient.

• Pelham Precious Metals, a disruptive antimicrobial, anti-odor, anti-infective and anti-healthcare-associated infection coating for textiles. The coating adds protection to fabrics without interfering with the functionality of underlying coatings, such as fire retardants, wicking layers, water repellants and fabric softeners.

• cHorizon, a three-tier system that measures, controls and extracts nutrients from a farm’s water runoff before it makes its way to Lake Erie. It helps farmers monitor and manage soil and water resources to ensure the supply of clean water, improve soil health, build regenerative practices, and maximize profit within agricultural and hothouse industries.

This year’s judges are all UToledo alumni and active entrepreneurs in Ohio and Indiana. They are:

• Tony Pietrocola, president of Agile1, investor and board member with Metisentry;

• Jason Daniels, president and CEO of JAYRAMON LLC;

• Tracy Momany, vice president of plastic technologies at Guardian Medical USA and director of medical operations at Plastic Technologies Inc.;

• Doug Rammel, president and founder of Abstract Reality Ventures and Social Net Watcher, and founding partner/investor of Didgebridge; and

• Akib Amin, 2018 Pitch & Pour Winner and founder of GAFFL.

Pitch & Pour competitors are invited to join UToledo’s Launchpad Incubation Program, which works to bolster innovation in northwest Ohio by providing access to capital, resources and expertise focused on enhancing community collaboration and communication for entrepreneurial development.

Launchpad Incubation at UToledo is one of northwest Ohio’s leading business startup and entrepreneurial assistance programs for innovative and high-tech concepts. Launchpad specializes in concept advancement for new ventures and works with entrepreneurs to create profitable businesses for the region and beyond. Launchpad provides access to capital, business development resources, and expertise focused on enhancing community collaboration and communication for entrepreneurial development.

Day of Giving College Events and Giving Stations

UToledo’s third annual Day of Giving will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 15 and 16.

The 36-hour campaign, “Rocket Forward: You Launch Lives,” will begin at midnight Oct. 15 and end at noon Oct. 16.

Several events are planned Tuesday, Oct. 15:

Day of Giving Fall Festival — 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Centennial Mall

• Student organizations will host booths with games.

• The Rocket Marching Band and UToledo cheerleaders will perform.

• President Sharon L. Gaber will greet students from noon to 12:30 p.m.

• The festival also will offer a dog-petting station, corn hole games, a basketball contest, pie in the face, pumpkin bowling and pumpkin golf.

College of Business and Innovation — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Savage & Associates Business Complex Second-Floor Atrium

• Giving station with ice cream.

Judith Herb College of Education — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Gillham Hall

• Giving station with popcorn.

College of Health and Human Services — 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 16, 8 to 10:30 a.m. in the Health and Human Services Building Atrium

• Giving station with popcorn, other snacks and prizes.

Jesup Scott Honors College — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside MacKinnon Hall

• Giving station with snacks.

College of Law — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Law Center Patio

• Fall Fest hosted by the Student Bar Association: Donate to decorate mini-pumpkins; play corn hole, ring toss and horseshoes; and eat kettle corn, caramel apples and cider.

Student Recreation Center — 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

• Giving station; popcorn from 2 to 6 p.m.

University College — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 16, 9 to 10:30 a.m. in Rocket Hall

• Giving station with popcorn, snacks, and a chance to spin the wheel to win prizes with a donation.

The University of Toledo Medical Center — starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 15 and 16, in the Four Seasons Bistro

• Giving station in the cafeteria.

Colleges of Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Medicine and Life Sciences — 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Collier Building Lobby

College of Nursing will host a Day of Giving party with a giving station, snacks, a pumpkin decorating contest, music and entertainment. President Sharon L. Gaber and Health Science Campus deans will be on hand for Day of Giving selfie photos with students, faculty and staff.

Give online at rocketforward.utoledo.edu Oct. 15-16 and share your UToledo story on social media at #RocketForward.

Doctoral Student Receives Counseling Fellowship

Clark D. Ausloos, a doctoral candidate in The University of Toledo’s Counselor Education Program, is one of 20 students in the country selected for the National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Program.

As a Fellow, Ausloos will receive $20,000 from the National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation and training to support his education and facilitate his clinical service to underserved minority populations.


Ausloos is slated to propose his dissertation this fall and defend in spring 2020. He received a master’s degree in counselor education, with both school counseling and clinical mental health counseling endorsements, from UToledo in 2016.

His clinical and research interests focus on school and clinical counseling for underserved, unrepresented, nondominant identities, including sexual (or affective) orientation, gender identity and expression, clients of varying social class, and persons of varying ability and disability statuses.

“As someone who personally identifies within the LGBTQPIA+ communities, I have personally experienced discrimination and marginalization in my life,” Ausloos said. “This fueled my passion for working with these communities, specifically youth.”

He and research partners, Lena Salpietro and Madeline Clark, were recently published in the Journal of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling. Their July article examines the counseling relationship and outcomes with cisgender counselors and transgender clients.

Ausloos has worked as an instructor for both graduate and undergraduate courses, including clinical and school internships, individual and group assessment, career counseling and development, substance abuse treatment techniques, and foundations of human mental health.

“The UToledo doctoral program in counselor education is a rigorous program that allows students to increase competency in teaching, research, counseling, supervision, leadership and advocacy — which is why I love it,” Ausloos said.

Toledo Football to Travel to Bowling Green for Annual Battle of I-75

Toledo and Bowling Green will meet on the gridiron for the 84th time when the Rockets invade Doyt Perry Stadium Saturday, Oct. 12.

The Rockets and the Falcons first played a football game on BGSU’s campus in 1919, making Saturday’s game the 100th anniversary of that first meeting. This will be the 84th meeting between Toledo and Bowling Green; the two campuses are separated by a 20-mile stretch of I-75.

The Rockets claimed the Battle of I-75 Trophy in 2018. It was their ninth straight win in the series with Bowling Green.

Kickoff is scheduled for noon, and the game will be carried on the CBS Sports Network.

Toledo (4-1, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) comes into the contest with a four-game winning streak, most recently a nail-biting 31-24 triumph over Western Michigan Oct. 5 before a Homecoming crowd of 22,141 at the Glass Bowl. Senior quarterback Mitchell threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more to lead the Rockets, but the outcome of the victory was not settled until the game’s final possession. Clinging to a 31-24 edge, the Rockets stopped the Broncos on fourth-and-22 from the UToledo 24-yard line when WMU quarterback Jon Wassink was tackled two yards shy of the first down by sophomore linebacker Saeed Holt with 1:44 left. Toledo was able to get a pair of first downs on carries by sophomore Bryant Koback to run out the clock and claim the victory.

Bowling Green (1-4, 0-1 MAC) is coming off a 52-0 loss at No. 9 Notre Dame Oct. 5. After a season-opening win over Morgan State, the Falcons have lost consecutive games to Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Kent State and Notre Dame. BGSU’s top offensive player has been junior wide receiver Quintin Morris, who has 26 receptions for 310 yards and two touchdowns.

Toledo leads the series, 40-39-4. The Rockets won at home last year, 52-36, their ninth consecutive win over the Falcons. The “Battle of I-75” began in 1919, was halted from 1936 through 1947, then resumed as an annual affair since 1948.

For the eighth time in the history of the rivalry, the winner of the game will hoist the Battle of I-75 Trophy. The trophy was officially awarded to UToledo in 2011 following its 28-21 win, but the trophy was not completed in time for the game.

UToledo students who want to go to the game can get a ticket, round-trip transportation, and lunch for $15. Seating on the buses is limited; make a reservation on the UToledo Alumni Association website by 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10. The trip is sponsored by the UToledo Alumni Association and the Division of Student Affairs.

Basketball Analyst to Speak at Rocket Roundball Social Oct. 16

Professional basketball television analyst Stan Van Gundy will be the keynote speaker for the men’s basketball team’s annual Rocket Roundball Social Wednesday, Oct. 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. on the main floor in Savage Arena.

Dr. Sharon L. Gaber, president of The University of Toledo, is hosting the event. All proceeds will go to the Toledo Men’s Basketball Progress Fund.

Van Gundy

The Rocket Roundball Social, which is an event that has grown into a Toledo basketball tradition, offers individuals the opportunity to meet President Gaber, Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk, and his staff and players while enjoying food from some of Toledo’s finest restaurants.

Prior to his role as a basketball analyst, Van Gundy served as head coach for the Detroit Pistons (2014 to 2018), Orlando Magic (2007 to 2012) and Miami Heat (2003 to 2005). He has coached in the NBA All-Star Game on two occasions and guided the Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals.

Van Gundy graduated in 1981 from the State University of New York at Brockport, where he played for his father, Bill Van Gundy. Stan’s brother, Jeff Van Gundy, is also a former NBA head coach and spoke at the Rocket Roundball Social in 2017. The impressive list of speakers at previous socials also includes John Beilein, Jay Bilas, Dan Dakich, Fran Fraschilla and Seth Greenberg.

“We’re extremely excited to have Stan Van Gundy serve as the guest speaker at our Rocket Roundball Social,” Kowalczyk said. “I have great respect for Stan and all he has accomplished in our profession. One of my closest friends is his father, Bill, who has been very instrumental in my career. As a result of that relationship, I have gotten to know Stan and Jeff, and I think the world of their family. I think our fans will enjoy hearing him speak and provide insight on the world of basketball.”

Tables for the event are sold-out, but a limited number of individual tickets are available for $100.

Payments can be made via cash, credit card or check. Checks should be made payable to The University of Toledo Foundation.

Reserve tickets by Friday, Oct. 11, by email to toledombb@gmail.com or by calling Basketball Director of Operations Jordan Lauf at 419.530.4796.

Toledo Holds Off Western Michigan, 31-24

Senior quarterback Mitchell Guadagni threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more to lead Toledo (4-1, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) to a 31-24 victory over Western Michigan (3-3, 1-1 MAC) before a Homecoming crowd of 22,141 at the Glass Bowl Saturday.

For the third straight week, the outcome of Toledo’s victory was not settled until the game’s final possession. Clinging to a 31-24 edge, the Rockets stopped the Broncos on fourth-and-22 from the UToledo 24-yard line when WMU quarterback Jon Wassink was tackled two yards shy of the first down by sophomore linebacker Saeed Holt with 1:44 left. Toledo was able to get a pair of first downs on runs by sophomore Bryant Koback to run out the clock and claim the victory.

Shakif Seymour led the way for Mitchell Guadagni in what would stand up as
the decisive touchdown in Toledo’s 31-24 win over Western Michigan.

“It was a solid team win over a really good team,” said Head Coach Jason Candle. “They were the best team we’ve played so far in a lot of ways. They gave us a hell of a fight today and had a good plan defensively. I thought our guys did a good job of hanging in there and fighting in tough situations and picking up some tough yards when we needed it. We also got some key stops on defense. There were a lot of ebbs and flows in the game with turnovers and a lot of ups and downs. We just found a way to keep playing and answering the bell when we need to.”

Guadagni threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the first half as Toledo jumped out to a 24-7 lead at the break. However, the Broncos fought back, scoring two touchdowns in the third quarter and another in the fourth to set up the game’s dramatic finish.

Guadagni completed 14 of 22 passes for 200 yards and two scores. Junior Bryce Mitchell paced the Rockets with four catches for a career-high 119 yards. Sophomore Bryant Koback led the rushing attack with 177 yards on 21 attempts.

The defense came up big for the Rockets to seal the victory.

The defense was led by Holt, who tied his career high with 12 tackles and a key sack at the end of the game; junior cornerback Samuel Womack, who had four tackles and broke up three passes; and senior defensive tackle Nate Childress, who blocked a field-goal attempt and batted down two passes. The Rockets held Wassink to under 50 percent passing (25 of 51) and held the Bronco offense to 7 of 18 on third down.

In the first quarter, Toledo came out on fire, scoring on its first two possessions and putting Western in a 14-0 hole. Mitchell opened the scoring with a leaping 38-yard touchdown catch from Guadagni. After a three-and-out by the Broncos, Guadagni drove the Rockets 50 yards in 10 plays, capped by a shovel pass to Devin Maddox for a five-yard touchdown.

Wide receiver Devin Maddox celebrated a touchdown.

WMU answered with a six-yard TD pass from Wassink to Giovanni Ricci, capping off an 11-play, 75-yard drive to cut the score to 14-7.

Toledo extended its lead to 21-7 on a two-yard TD run by Guadagni that capped a nine-play, 76-yard drive at the 7:24 mark of the second quarter. A 22-yard field goal by Evan Davis padded the lead to 24-7 with a little more than two minutes to play in the half. Davis also missed a 43-yarder on the last play of the half.

WMU struck first in the third quarter when Wassink connected with Jaylen Hall for a 43-yard touchdown bomb to cut the margin to 24-14. The Rocket lead was further trimmed to 24-17 when Thiago Capps connected on a 34-yard field goal with 29 seconds left in the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Guadagni engineered another long drive, this time taking the Rockets 74 yards in 13 plays. He finished off the drive himself, going one yard for the score to make it 31-17.

WMU came back quickly, however, as LeVante Bellamy busted loose for a 39-yard TD run to pull the Broncos to within a score with 7:56 to play. After Toledo went three-and-out, WMU drove to the Toledo 12-yard line with just over two minutes to play. But Wassink was sacked by Holt for a 12-yard loss, setting up a fourth-and-24 situation. Wassink scrambled and was tackled two yards shy of the first down by Holt with 1:44 left. Toledo was able to get a pair of first downs on runs by Koback to run out the clock and claim the victory.

Up next, the Rockets will hit the road next Saturday for a contest at Bowling Green in the annual Battle of I-75 rivalry game.