On Saturday, the University of Toledo football team earned a tough victory against Eastern Michigan, by a score of 20-15 at the Glass Bowl. The win improves the Rockets’ record to 4-1.
“It was a really hard-fought football game,” head coach Jason Candle said. “Hats off to Eastern, they played us tough for all 60 minutes. I kind of expected it to be that way. They are the #1 scoring defense in our conference for a reason. It’s not a one game sample. We were able to go get a win and I’m certainly proud of the effort of our team to finish it off and take that next step.”
Fourth-year quarterback Logan Woodside threw for 289 yards and second-year safety Kahlil Robinson intercepted two passes to help seal the win.
“I think that is exactly what we have to do if we are going to be the defense we want to establish and we talk about being all the time,” Robinson said. “Turnovers are key in doing what we set out to do.”
Woodside completed 23 of 34 passes. Second-year Diontae Johnson led the receivers, catching eight passes for 97 yards. Second-year running back Art Thompkins, starting in relief of the injured Terry Swanson, ran for 94 yards on 15 carries.
UT’s leading receiver, fourth-year Cody Thompson, was injured early in the game and never returned. After the game, Candle said that Thompson suffered a leg injury and is likely lost for the season.
Toledo kicked off the scoring on its first possession, on a 27-yard field goal by third-year kicker Jameson Vest. Both teams couldn’t capitalize on field goals on the next two drives: EMU from 50 yards, and the Rockets from 21 yards out on a botched snap.
Eastern Michigan pulled out ahead on the next-to-final play of the first quarter with an 11-yard pass from quarterback Brogan Roback to receiver Johnnie Niupalau. The touchdown capped a seven play, 80-yard drive. The extra point was no good, giving the Eagles a 6-3 edge.
The Rockets broke through in the second quarter. Woodside drove the offense 52 yards in eight plays, capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by first year running back Sahkif Seymour on a fourth down, giving UT a 10-6 lead going into halftime.
Toledo pushed their lead to 17-6 halfway through the third quarter on an 18-yard touchdown run by Thompkins.
The Eagles cut into the lead with a 46-yard field goal by Paulie Fricano with 6:08 left in the third quarter, to make the score 17-9. Later in the fourth quarter, EMU kept pushing when Roback hit receiver Antoine Porter for a 12-yard touchdown. The Eagles attempted a two-point conversion and initially earned it. But it was called back after further review, making the score 17-15.
Vest’s second field goal of the day, a 20-yarder, increased Toledo’s lead to 20-15 with 2:58 left in the game. In EMU’s final drive, Roback completed a pass on fourth down and nine for a first down to the UT 37-yard line. There was a little more than one minute left in the game. A holding call moved the ball back to the 47-yard line. Then, Robinson finished off the victory with an interception for UT.
“In this conference, you have to fight for every game,” Woodside said. “It’s such a tight conference and I give Eastern all the credit in the world. They have a really good defense and do a lot of things really well. We had to fight for everything.”
The Rockets resume MAC action next week at Central Michigan University at 3:30 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3.