Team effort helps UT down BG 33-14 to retain Peace PipeWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
After digging first quarter holes in their first four home games of the 2010 season, the Rockets came out guns blazing in their Nov. 17 matchup on ESPN2 and flipped the script on arch-rival Bowling Green at the Glass Bowl as they jumped out to an early 19-0 lead en route to their 33-14 victory over the Falcons.
“I’m very, very proud of the way we started playing this football game,” Toledo head coach Tim Beckman said. “We played 60 minutes of football. It’s not about Tim Beckman. It’s about the Toledo Rocket football program, and I can’t be more proud of the way those guys played today.”
A big reason why Toledo was able to bring the Peace Pipe back to campus for the first time since 2006 was due to the playmaking abilities of junior running back Adonis Thomas. The 5-10, 175-lb. product from Newark, N.J. finished with a career-high 235 yards of total offense and one touchdown, also a team season-high individually. Thomas had a career-best 163 yards on 24 carries, also catching five passes for 72 yards.
“I feel relieved,” Thomas said as he answered postgame questions with the Peace Pipe trophy at the podium. “If you can’t be on every cylinder for this game, I don’t know what you’re playing for.”
The Rockets outgained Bowling Green 537-254 in total offense as the Toledo defense stifled any sort of offensive rhythm for the Falcons, allowing just 35 rushing yards on 23 carries while forcing four turnovers. In 2009, fellow Mid-American Conference member Ohio was tied for first in the nation with Texas for turnovers gained and made it to the MAC championship game. Beckman and his staff took note of that stat, and it’s been a point of emphasis for the Toledo defense this season. The Rockets entered the Glass Bowl on Nov. 17 tied for sixth in the country in turnovers gained with 26.
“We’ve harped on that since last January,” sophomore defensive end and Perrysburg graduate T.J. Fatinikun said of getting turnovers. Fatinikun finished the game with six tackles, including a half sack and a forced fumble. “It only made it so much better for us to come out there each game understanding that we have to take the ball away to at least be successful.”
The 75th meeting between UT and B.G. in the annual battle of I-75 was just the second career start for redshirt freshman quarterback Terrance Owens, but his second-consecutive start in the absence of injured sophomore quarterback Austin Dantin, who is out until at least after the regular season finale Nov. 27 against Central Michigan due to a shoulder injury. The Cleveland Glenville product finished 16-of-25 for 225 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
“As he progresses through the seasons and through the games, he’s going to get himself better and better each week,” Beckman said of Owens. “He’s got great talent.”
Another sparkplug on the Toledo offense was sophomore wide receiver and Springfield graduate Eric Page. Page led all receivers with 111 yards on nine catches with one touchdown, also passing for another score on his 35-yard toss to junior wide receiver Tim Cortazzo at the 7:14 mark of the first quarter which put the Rockets up 19-0. With the performance, Page now ranks in sixth place in career pass reception yardage at Toledo with 2,113 thus far.
“Eric just makes plays,” Beckman said. “When we need a play to be made, Eric seems to make those plays.”
The Rockets are now 7-4 overall with a 6-1 MAC record after the win, while Bowling Green fell to 2-9 with a 1-6 mark in conference play. Toledo’s 19-point victory over the Falcons was its’ largest in the rivalry since 2000, when it defeated Bowling Green 51-17. Of all the positives that came out of this game for the Rockets, perhaps the biggest is that they are now one step closer to securing a bowl bid if they take down the Chippewas (2-5, 3-8 MAC) next week.
Several representatives from the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl were on hand for the triumph over the Falcons, a good indication of their interest in Toledo being a strong candidate to participate in the Dec. 26 contest at Ford Field.