Blown call sends Rockets to 1-3 after overtime loss
A blunder by Big East officials cost the Rockets dearly in a 33-30 overtime defeat to Syracuse at the Carrier Dome on Saturday. The loss ended Toledo's run of five consecutive seasons of beating a BCS opponent.
"It was a tough loss, there's no question about it," said UT head coach Tim Beckman. "These last three opponents we played have been very good. I think Syracuse deserves some credit. They fought for four quarters and ended up with the victory. We have a couple guys bumped and bruised, but we came in here to win a football game and we fell a little bit short again."
After the Orange (3-1) took a 29-27 lead with 2:07 remaining in the fourth quarter, sophomore kicker Ross Krautman appeared to miss just left but the kick was ruled good. Several replay angles indicated otherwise, but the referee's call was upheld by the replay officials.
"Upstairs in the box they said it was no good," Beckman said. "I don't know other than what they tell me up in the box. It looked like it was a little bit off to the left. When you come into these games, you learn as a team and coaching staff that it's us against the world. We have to make sure we don't give the touchdown up, so they can't kick that PAT."
Toledo junior quarterback Austin Dantin battled illness all game but was on the field for all 30 UT points. Dantin managed to rack up 258 yards on 22-of-32 passing with a touchdown and an interception.
Sophomore quarterback Terrance Owens played just two drives, completing 6-of-10 passes for 42 yards.
"[Dantin] was throwing up all night," Beckman said. "We had an IV in him this morning. It was questionable if he was going to play for us. T.O. tweaked his back slightly, so Austin Dantin stayed in the football game. I think that proves what type of young man Austin Dantin is. He fought to the end. He's still sick. I think he's over there getting sick right now but he willed himself to give us a chance to win and I think it speaks a lot about the character of Austin Dantin."
Dantin's interception came on the first play of overtime on an adventurous play call in which he heaved a deep ball to the corner of endzone. Syracuse cornerback Kevyn Scott took advantage of the gamble, snatching the ball away from intended receiver Bernard Reedy.
Seven plays later, Krautman kicked the 27-yard game-winner, his fourth field goal of the afternoon.
Only adding to Toledo's woes, several Rockets left the game due to injury on Saturday.
Senior running back Adonis Thomas broke his arm on his first carry of the game, and did not return, watching the rest of the game from the sidelines with a soft cast. Beckman said Thomas will miss the next three to four weeks.
Toledo may also be without injury plagued sixth-year senior cornerback Desmond Marrow for an extended period of time after he left the game in the third quarter on a stretcher. Both his CT scan and MRI came back negative but his status for next week's showdown with Temple (3-1) is now questionable.
"He was talking when I was out there on the field, so he felt like he was okay," Beckman said. "He was moving his hands and legs. The lack of movement had more to do with the concussion than anything else."
The Rockets opened the game with their longest drive of the season. The 22-play 75 drive lasted over ten minutes before the offense stalled inside the 5-yard line. Casano would chip in a 20-yard field goal to give Toledo the 3-0 lead.
Syracuse posted the next 13 points to take the lead on a 31-yard Krautman field goal with 1:06 left in the half.
On the ensuing drive, Dantin completed a 14-yard pass to junior wideout Eric Page to set up a 52-yard field goal by freshman kicker Jeremiah Detmer. The kick was the first of Detmer's collegiate career.
Detmer's kick was the second longest in program history, topped only by Todd France's 55-yarder against Western Michigan in 2001.
Page finished with 13 catches for a career-high 158 yards.
Toledo snapped the tie with a 29-yard pass from Dantin to sophomore running back David Fluellen with under five minutes to go in the third quarter. Fluellen led the Toledo ground attack in Thomas' stead, rushing 12 times for 62 yards and catching four passes for 43 yards.
"You have big shoes to fill coming in for Adonis," Fluellen said. "Me and Morgan [Williams] had to come in and hold it down for the team. It's going to be hard these next couple games without Adonis, but our team believes in us and we'll get the job done."
The Orange pulled even again on the following possession with a 20-yard rush by senior tailback Antwon Bailey, then recaptured the lead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter with a 29-yard field goal.
Williams scored on another direct snap from inside the 5-yard line to give UT a 27-23 advantage with 10:54 to go. The lead would be the Rockets last of the contest.
Syracuse senior quarterback Ryan Nassib responded for the Orange by leading a scoring drive capped off by an 18-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Alec Lemon.
Krautman's controversial extra point attempt gave Syracuse a 30-27 edge.
Toledo countered by driving 65 yards on 9 plays to set up a 20-yard field goal by Casano which sent the game overtime.
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