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Football puts up fight against Hurricanes

 

The Glass Bowl was packed to the brim, as the #21 Miami Hurricanes traveled to Toledo

 

for a non-conference slug fest. The buzz surrounding what many fans dubbed Toledo football’s “biggest home game ever” was electric.

 

The reigning MAC champion Rockets faced the Hurricanes for a second straight season,

after last season’s contest at Hard Rock stadium in Miami, Florida, ended in a 52-30 Hurricane victory.

 

The contest started rather unceremoniously for the Rockets. After a short-lived offensive drive

that ended in a punt, the Hurricanes hit paydirt with a 12 play, 76-yard drive, that ended with a five-yard touchdown run by Miami quarterback Malik Rosier.

 

After the initial scoring drive for the Hurricanes, the Toledo defense was able to settle down,

forcing back to back three and outs. However, the Rocket offense was unable to produce any points during this time.

 

After a short punt, the Hurricanes took advantage of good field position with five-play, 61-yard drive resulting in a 38-yard touchdown catch by Miami wideout Jeff Thomas, giving Miami a

14-0 lead.

 

Trailing 14-0 early in the second quarter, the Rocket offense led by third-year Mitchell Guadagni

needed an answer. Half of that potential answer would come on a 31-yard pass play from Guadagni to wide receiver Diontae Johnson.

 

The Rockets would move the ball deep in Hurricane territory before stalling out, resulting in a 42-yard missed field goal by kicker Jameson Vest, depleting the Rockets of their perceived momentum.

 

As the Rockets offense continued to stumble in the second quarter, it seemed as if Malik Rosier

and the Hurricanes were just getting warmed up. The senior Quarterback put together a 7-play 58-yard drive, punctuated by his second rushing touchdown of the afternoon to put the Hurricanes up 21-0 and in full control of the game.

 

The Rockets got on the board when Mitchell Guadagni jump started the sluggish Rocket offense with his legs, picking up key first downs in route to a 7-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson,

 

Untimely penalties and stalled offensive drives plagued the Rockets in the first half. The

Hurricanes took advantage of these errors, but probably not as much as they had hoped as the Rockets only trailed by 14 at the half, very much within striking distance.

 

On their first drive of the second half, the Rocket offense did not disappoint. Guadagni completed two 30+ yard completions on a drive that went 81 yards and ended with a 5-yard Art Thompkins touchdown run. Thompkins rushing touchdown was set up by his 31-yard reception, which came on a Hurricane blitz that was read well by Guadagni.

 

Miami wasted no time answering the Rockets sudden burst. This came in the form of a 5-play 75-yard touchdown drive, in which Hurricane wide receiver Jeff Thomas hauled in an over-the shoulder reception of 41 yards.

 

Just when it seemed Miami was taking control of the game once again, the Rockets offense struck gold.

 

Guadagni, whom was making plays with his legs all afternoon, scrambled right for a 10-yard first down, setting up a 40-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson. The junior wideout made multiple Hurricane defenders miss on his way for the score sending the Glass bowl into a frenzy.

 

Back and forth went the third quarter, the Hurricanes needed a strong answer to the second

Diontae Johnson touchdown; and they got it in a big way. Malik Rosier, executed a back-breaking 14-play 70-yard touchdown drive.

 

The drive concluded with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Hurricane receiver Lawrence Cager. Once again, the Hurricanes extended their lead, 35-21.

 

Guadagni and the Rocket offense would find more steam, getting into Hurricane territory again,

ultimately fizzling out and having to settle for a 47-yard Jameson Vest field goal to cut the Hurricane lead to 35-24 early in the fourth quarter.

 

Miami put together a seemingly game ending touchdown drive, culminating in a 37-yard rushing

touchdown, and the third rushing touchdown of the game for quarterback Malik Rosier. This padded the Hurricane lead, making it 42-24 in the fourth quarter.

 

A Guadagni interception and another Hurricane touchdown, this one coming on a one-yard run

for running back Trayon Gray all but sealed the fate for the Rockets, as they trailed 49-24 with nine minutes left in the ball game.

 

The Rockets continually fought all game long, and hung on with the Hurricanes, but the Toledo defense was unable to reliably get stops throughout the second half, sealing their fate.

 

Miami racked up 473 yards on the Rockets, including a bruising 268 yards on the

ground that punished the Rockets.

 

Mitchell Guadagni finished with 13 completions for 222 yards, and two touchdowns.

 

“A lot of young kids grew up today, I thought our quarterback grew up,”  head coach Jason Candle said.

 

The Rockets will host Nevada at noon, Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Glass Bowl

 

 

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