UT notches ‘special’ upset win over unbeaten No. 21 CincinnatiWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For the first time this year, Toledo was held without an offensive touchdown. But that didn’t matter when the Rockets met No. 21 Cincinnati in the Glass Bowl Saturday night.
Thanks in large part to a 75-yard pick six from senior strong safety Jermaine Robinson, three field goals of 40-plus yards from sophomore kicker Jeremiah Detmer and a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from junior wide receiver Bernard Reedy, the Rockets were able to pull off a 29-23 upset over undefeated Cincinnati on Oct. 20.
“I think it says everything about our football team right now,” UT head coach Matt Campbell said. “Boy, I thought offensively we played really well from, like, the 20 to the 20, and we got down to the red zone, and fortunately — or unfortunately — we had to kick field goals.
“I thought J.D. Detmer had a great night.”
Detmer made three field goals of 40-plus yards in the first half alone and a career-best five on the night, tying for the second-most field goals in a game in Toledo history. He has now made 11 consecutive field goals this season.
“I’ve always had great confidence in J.D. Detmer,” Campbell said.
Entering the contest as the Mid-American Conference leader in interceptions (10) and second in the league in field goals made (13), Toledo (7-1, 5-0 MAC) needed both to take a 16-13 halftime lead against the Bearcats, who came into the Glass Bowl sporting the Big East’s No. 1 scoring offense (37 ppg) and No. 2 scoring defense (14.4 ppg).
Cincinnati held UT to 87 yards of total offense in the first quarter and 173 for the half, but Detmer field goals of 43, 42 and 47 yards and Robinson’s first quarter 75-yard pick six off Bearcats quarterback Munchie Legaux helped Toledo overcome its offensive struggles to lead 16-13 at halftime.
“It’s just our seniors — our seniors and our player ownership,” Robinson said. “I mean, we’re actually a family out there. [When] adversity hits, we don’t put our head down. We keep it up.”
On first-and-10 at the Rockets’ 40-yard line in the first quarter, Legaux was pressured by the UT defensive line and got hit as he threw, allowing Robinson to intercept his pass on the right side of the field and return it 75 yards the other way for the score to make it 10-0 Toledo at the 7:50 mark.
The interception was not only the fourth this year for Robinson, who entered the game tied for the MAC lead in interceptions this season, but also his fourth pick six at Toledo, tying him for the all-time lead with Keon Jackson (2002-05) at UT in that category.
“We always pride ourselves on takeaways,” Robinson said of the Rockets’ two interceptions against the Bearcats. “Coach [Matukewicz] preaches stopping them on third down. I mean, even though we get off the field, it still keeps the offense in the game, but takeaways for touchdowns in the interception wins games.”
Perhaps the most special play of the contest came on the legs of one of Toledo’s most special player so far this season in Reedy.
The Bearcats (5-1, 1-0 Big East) took their first lead of the game on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Legaux to Damon Julian between two UT defenders in the end zone, making the score 20-19 with 2:08 on the clock in the third quarter. Reedy then countered with a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the ensuing kickoff to give the lead back to the Rockets — one they never relinquished.
That kickoff return for a touchdown marked the third straight game that Reedy scored on a special teams play.
“I’ve got to give credit to the guys up front, the 10 [guys] that’s blocking for me,” said Reedy, who had a game-high 229 total yards. “If you’ve got 10 guys that you know that’s going to bring it every day in practice — you know, practice like it’s a game — and [then] you know you just read blocks and then just run. That’s how I see it.”
Sophomore cornerback Jordan Haden got his second interception of the year with a game-ending pick on Cincinnati’s final drive to preserve Toledo’s 29-23 victory.
With the win over the Bearcats, the Rockets improved to 7-11 all-time against Top 25 teams, including a 5-1 mark in the Glass Bowl.
UT faces Buffalo (1-6, 0-3 MAC) on Oct. 27 in Buffalo at 3:30 p.m.