The University of Toledo opened their 2017 season at home with a commanding 47-17 win over Elon University. The Rockets dominated on offense, putting up 553 total yards on offense compared to Elon’s 175 yards.
“That was a great crowd tonight. Really electric in the Glass Bowl, especially in the T-end zone,” said head coach Jason Candle after the game.
The Toledo offense wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. After forcing a punt on Elon's opening drive, Toledo drove 40 yards in eight plays before settling for a 28-yard field goal from third-year kicker Jameson Vest. Elon was quickly stopped again by the UT defense, putting the ball back in UT possession.
The Rocket team proved how explosive it was yet again, because within 21 seconds they were back in the end zone.
With the first play of UT’s second drive, second-year wide receiver Diontae Johnson caught a monster 69-yard pass from fourth-year quarterback Logan Woodside that put the Rockets in scoring position. Fourth-year running back Terry Swanson took it up the middle on the next play to extend the Rocket lead to 10-0.
Elon’s third drive of the game was reminiscent of its first two, but this time the team found the confidence to go for it on fourth down. A quick run up the middle from first-year Elon running back Brelynd Cyphers was stuffed by the UT defense, giving the ball back to the Rockets. Toledo didn’t slow down its offense at all, sticking to its classic, no-huddle quick pace from last season.
This formula proved successful for the Rockets, but they could not find the end zone on the third drive. A 27-yard field goal from Vest gave Toledo a comfortable 13-0 lead with 3:57 left in the first quarter. After Elon was stopped again, Toledo took the ball on offense but could not score before the end of the quarter. At the end of the first quarter, the score stood 13-0.
UT once again put themselves in the red zone but could not get the ball into the end zone. The Rockets settled for a field goal, putting the score at 16-0. UT did not have to wait long for another chance to score, as first-year Elon quarterback Davis Cheek threw a pass too long, landing it right in the hands of second-year defensive back Kahlil Robinson.
Toledo’s lead over Elon gave it enough room to go for it on fourth down, but after a delay of game penalty and a run that was inches short, UT turned the ball over on downs. Elon took the ball and had its best drive of the game yet, pushing the ball 37 yards on 6 plays. The drive ended with Elon putting up its first points of the game, a nine-yard touchdown run from Cyphers, making the score 16-7 and cutting Toledo’s lead to nine.
Toledo got the ball back with only 4:28 left in the half, meaning it had to move fast to get a score in before half time.
An incredible catch from fourth-year wide receiver Cody Thompson over an Elon defender gave Toledo that push, giving UT a 38-yard gain and putting them in scoring position. UT made a slow push towards the end zone so as not to give Elon much time before the half.
After a botched third down pass attempt, UT again settled for a field goal, its fourth of the half. This put the score at 19-7 with Toledo still firmly in the lead. The second half opened with a massive 99-yard kick-off return from Johnson.
“My teammates did a good job blocking and gave me security, and I just did my job taking it to the house,” Johnson said after the game.
This gave the Rockets the motivation needed to push themselves even harder and extend a 26-7 lead over Elon. After long drives, the Rockets scored back-to-back touchdowns on short runs from Swanson and second-year tight end Reggie Gilliam, making the lead 40-7 in favor of the Rockets.
Elon would not score again until the fourth quarter, when third-year Elon running back Malcolm Summers took the ball in on a 1-yard run. A missed extra point kept the lead at 40-13 in favor of UT. With 49 seconds left in the game, UT managed to put one more score on the board. A nine-yard run from first-year running back Shakif Seymour solidified the UT win at 47-13 and ended the game.
Toledo will travel to Nevada this Saturday to square off against the University of Nevada at 7:00 p.m.