Mistakes continue to plague Rockets in victoryWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In a 66-63 shootout victory against Western Michigan Nov. 8, Toledo’s worst enemy showed up again on senior night: itself.
In a 66-63 shootout victory against Western Michigan Nov. 8, Toledo’s worst enemy showed up again on senior night: itself.The Rockets committed six turnovers in nine games heading into their contest with the Broncos and duplicated that total in four quarters against WMU. For the second consecutive week, UT also gave up 63 points to its opponent as Western Michigan compiled 635 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns in a possession time of 20:30.“That was definitely a fifteen-round bout, no question about it,” Toledo head coach Tim Beckman said. “We pulled out the [win], and I’m proud of the way these seniors got to play their final game here and they’ll remember it as a [win]. It wasn’t a pretty one by any means. Defensively—again—we have struggled the last two weeks against two pretty good offenses, don’t get me wrong. But we definitely have some strides we’ve got to make on defense.”Entering Tuesday night’s matchup with Western Michigan (5-5 3-3 Mid-American Conference), Toledo (6-4, 5-1 MAC) ranked No. 1 in the MAC and was tied for fourth in the country with Arizona State in turnover margin (1.56 margin/game). Five first-half turnovers from the Rockets led to three WMU touchdowns. “I don’t know,” Beckman said on the turnovers. “Again, it’s a lack of focus I think on some of those interceptions and some of those turnovers. Again, we have to get those corrected. No question about it. I’ve been proud of the way we’ve only given up six for nine football games, but you can’t have six in one games and be successful.”For the second-straight contest, UT’s mistakes marred their superb offensive play. The Toledo offense racked up 804 yards and eight touchdowns against Western Michigan, getting 419 of those on the ground. Senior running back Adonis Thomas shouldered the load with 293 yards of total offense. He finished with 216 rushing yards on 30 carries with two touchdowns, also hauling in five catches for 77 yards and another score. As a team, the Rockets committed eight penalties for 73 yards.“I think it’s just aggression,” Thomas said of the mistakes. “Everybody wants to make that play. I mean, our defense sometimes wants to make plays and our offensive linemen, they care about the quarterback. They care about the running backs. So I mean, some of them would rather take a penalty than to let one of us get seriously injured. “It’s aggression and it’s also looking out, but it’s minor things we could fix as far as the false starts and things like that, just paying attention to the ball. All of the mistakes that we made are very correctible.”Also lost was another historic performance from junior wide receiver and Springfield graduate Eric Page. One week after he tied the MAC record held by former Marshall standout Randy Moss with five touchdown receptions against Northern Illinois, Page surpassed Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver Stephen Williams as Toledo’s all-time leader in career receiving yards. With 10 catches for 68 yards, Page now has 3,146 receiving yards since arriving to UT in 2009, breaking Williams’ mark of 3,102.However, Page fumbled twice in the first half, one of which led to a Broncos’ touchdown. The other two WMU scores that were the direct result of Rockets’ turnovers came off of interceptions from junior quarterback Austin Dantin and sophomore quarterback Terrance Owens. Both teams combined for MAC records with 1,439 yards of total offense and 18 touchdowns. The point total of 129 was also the most ever in the Glass Bowl, breaking last week’s sum of 123.“A lot of it really is just missed tackles and just leverage,” junior linebacker Danny Molls said. Molls tied for the team lead with 11 tackles and returned a fumble 24 yards for a touchdown against Western Michigan, which led by quarterback Alex Carder’s 548 passing yards and seven touchdowns, both career-highs and Broncos’ records. “It’s the same things as the last few weeks. We’ve got to keep containment on the football, and then the missed tackles every week, it kills us. And it shows with all the big plays they made.”