On Friday, the University of Toledo football defeated the Western Michigan Broncos 37-10 to clinch their first MAC West Division title since 2004. The win boosts the Rockets’ record to 10-2 overall and 7-1 in Mid-American Conference play.
“For us to send our seniors out here and their last memory of the Glass Bowl is that they went undefeated here this year,” head coach Jason Candle said, “and they beat Western Michigan, who has taken this from us the last two years, and now they get a chance to go play in Detroit. If that is the last memory they will have after we had a pretty good locker room celebration, then that is pretty good.”
With their clinched division title, UT has earned a berth in the 2017 MAC Championship Game at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The Rockets will face off against East Division winner Akron.
Fourth year quarterback Logan Woodside threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns in the contest.
Woodside and fourth year running back Terry Swanson both reached personal career milestones. Swanson, who ran for 94 yards and scored two touchdowns, moved into fifth place on UT’s career rushing list with 3,377 yards, passing David Fluellen (3,336 from 2010-13). Woodside became the first Rocket quarterback ever to throw for more than 10,000 yards. He now has 10,083 yards in his four years at UT.
It’s not just me, it’s the whole offense,” Woodside said. “Our offensive line has stepped up tremendously throughout this whole year. Our running game has been really, really good. That has just made it a lot easier on me, and I just try to get the ball to the playmakers and limit the mistakes out there.”
Toledo started off the scoring on its third drive of the game with a 33-yard field goal by third year kicker Jameson Vest with 2:12 left in the first quarter.In the second quarter, Swanson boosted the lead to 10-0 with a 13-yard TD run. Western capitalized off of a Woodside interception to set up its first score of the game, a 24-yard field goal by Josh Grant to cut into the score at 10-3 with 7:02 to play in the first half. Toledo answered right back with a nine-play, 61-yard drive that culminated with a one-yard run by first year running back Shakif Seymour, giving Toledo a 17-3 lead with 3:20 left in the half.
Woodside kept in rolling in the second half, hitting first year receiver Danzel McKinley-Lewis with a 20-yard TD connection on UT’s first drive of the third quarter. Western cut the lead to 24-10 on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Reece Goddard to Tyron Arnett with 4:02 left in the third quarter.
Woodside threw for another TD pass, a 13-yarder to second year receiver Diontae Johnson with 17 seconds left in the third quarter to give Toledo a 31-10 lead. Vest converted on six more points with a pair of fourth-quarter field goals.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime feeling,” Woodside said. “Since 2004 we haven’t been there, but we aren’t satisfied. It was a great win today, and we are going to cherish it today, and then get right back to work tomorrow. I think [the MAC title game] will be everything we dreamed of and imagined, especially since I’ve been here. We expect a huge crowd from Toledo to come up and support us. It’s going to be a really great atmosphere, and we are excited to get up there and play.”
The Mid American Conference Championship game will be on Saturday, December 2nd at 12:00 pm. Tickets for the games may be ordered online now at UTRockets.com.