David Fluellen is a man-beast. That's what I got from Toledo's Tradition's Day-spoiling victory over Central Michigan Saturday, 38-17. The Mid-American Conference's leading rusher managed 197 yards and two touchdowns to launch the Rockets offense past CMU in both team's MAC opener.
With senior quarterback Terrance Owens on the sideline to start the game head coach Matt Campbell emphasized a run-heavy offensive attack, giving Fluellen the ball 32 times. Owens eventually entered the game, and turned out a very solid performance, throwing for 139 yards and a touchdown. That TD came in the second quarter and was a 3-yard gem to receiver Alonzo Russell. You may have seen it on SportsCenter's Top 10 as it came in at No. 1 for it's sheer magnificence. But in case you missed it, here it is.
But the game wasn't all about Toledo's offense. The Chippewas, led by quarterback Cooper Rush, who made his second career start, put up a good fight. Rush threw for 214 yards and a score, but had to costly interceptions and two fumbles, including one that was returned for a touchdown. The turnovers proved to be CMU's downfall, despite another solid performance from running back Saylor Lavallii, who managed 144 yards and a touchdown.
Slowly but surely Central Michigan is starting to regain confidence after the debilitating losses of Cody Kater and Zurlon Tipton in the season opener, but with turnovers an issue, there's a long way to go before CMU can climb out of the gutter it has quickly found itself sulking in.
Comparatively, Toledo seems to be hitting it's stride right at the start of conference play after it had two rough road losses to SEC teams to start the season. Owens coming back to play in the game after suffering a sprained knee the week before is spectacular, and the offense is clicking. Defensively, the Rockets are still allowing too much leniency considering they are in the same division as the potent offenses of Ball State and Northern Illinois. But with the running game clicking and Owens looking as efficient as ever Toledo should have no problems putting up points against a conference that has looked increasingly weak as the weeks click on.