The University of Toledo Football team defeated the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes in a 54-51 shoot-out on Saturday, Sept. 16. This win bumps the Rockets record to 3-0.
“You have to believe man,” said head coach Jason Candle. “You have to fight back when things get hard and things got really hard on our football team tonight in a couple tough situations. We didn’t play at our best and we weren’t as crisp and clean as we wanted to be. Our team showed a lot of fight and resolve to come through.”
The win also culminated Toledo’s celebration of 100 years of Rocket Football, as past UT greats were honored at halftime.
Offense was on full display in the contest, as both teams combined for 105 points and 1,227 total offensive yards. Toledo completed their third largest comeback in school history, coming back from being down 28-7 in the second quarter.
Third-year kicker Jameson Vest was the hero of the night as he kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to seal the deal for the Rockets at 54-51.
“I just embraced it and told myself that we are going to win this game,” Vest said. “I just knew I was going to get these points for the win. It means a lot, because it means that the guys have a lot of trust in me and couldn’t do it without me.”
Fourth-year quarterback Logan Woodside had a career night, throwing for 458 yards and six touchdown passes in the game.
“It was awesome,” Woodside said. “That was probably one of the most fun games I’ve been a part of. It was similar to out at BYU last year. But to come out and get a win was huge for this team and program. That was a really good team we beat tonight.”
Fourth-year running back Terry Swanson led the rushing attack with 139 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Second-year running back Art Thompkins was also a notable rusher, carrying the ball for 83 yards.
Rockets receivers had big nights as fourth-year wide receiver Cody Thompson caught nine passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns. Second-year wide receiver Diontae Johnson caught four passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
Second-year wide receiver Danzel McKinley-Lewis caught two passes for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Tulsa kicked off the scoring on its first drive with an 18-play drive, capped off by an eight-yard TD run from quarterback Chad President. UT countered back with 63-yard strike on a slant pattern from Woodside to McKinley-Lewis, tying the score at seven.
The Golden Hurricanes took the lead again on a 63-yard sprint to the end zone from running back Shamari Brooks, making the lead 14-7.
Tulsa scored again when linebacker Craig Suits jumped on a Woodside pass and returned it 37 yards for a score to increase the Golden Hurricane lead to 21-7. The lead grew to 28-7 when Brooks capped off a 58-yard drive with an eight-yard TD run.
Toledo cut into the lead in the final minutes of the first half as Woodside hit Thompson for 26 yards with 26 seconds left in the half, to make the score 28-14.
The Rockets blasted off in the second half, scoring on their first drive with a 49-yard TD burst from Swanson, cutting the lead to 28-21. The Rocket then held Tulsa to a field goal, making the score to 31-28.
UT earned their first lead of the night at 34-31 when Woodside and Thompson connected on a 15-yard touchdown. Thompson made a one-handed catch that was worthy of an ESPN Top 10 Play nomination.
Tulsa took the lead back with a one-yard touchdown run from D’Angelo Brewer after a 75-yard drive. The play of the night came after as the Rockets blocked the extra point and third-year safety Josh Teacher returned the ball 100 yards to the end zone, making the score 37-36 for Tulsa.
The Golden Hurricane extended their lead to 44-36 when President ran up the right sideline for 39 yards.
Toledo fought back when Woodside connected with Johnson on 49-yard TD pass, followed by a two-point conversion completion to second-year tight end Jordan Fisher to tie the score at 44 in the fourth quarter.
UT took the lead when Woodside connected with Johnson on a 74-yard TD pass with eight minutes to make the 51-44. Tulsa tied it up at 51 with a one-yard TD run from Brooks.
Woodside then drove the Rockets 59 yards in eight plays to set up Vest’s game-winner.
“It was exciting,” Thompson said. “Even in the locker room at halftime, no one had their head down and nobody really had a doubt. Everybody knew what we could do on offense, on defense and on special teams. We came out and really didn’t look back.”
The Rockets will face another storm as they will travel to take on the 14th-ranked Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL, on Sept. 23. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network and ESPN3.