A few days after signing head coach Matt Campbell to a contract extension, Toledo Rockets' fans got a taste of exactly why. Without his best player, David Fluellen, on the field Campbell's Rockets team dismantled the Eastern Michigan Eagles 55-16.
The game was one-sided from the start, with Toledo launching out to a 21-0 lead with 5 minutes to go in the first half. By halftime, EMU trailed by 28, and despite spending the majority of the second half going up against the Rockets' second- and third-stringers, the Eagles failed to cover the spread, losing by 39.
Terrance Owens had arguably the bast game of his four-year career, throwing for 375 yards on 18-of-24 passing with three scores. Owens' three TD passes went for 7, 47, and 80 yards and opened up the underbelly for Fluellen's understudies to rip through the EMU defense on the ground.
Freshmen Damion Jones-Moore scored on a 30-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and freshman Kareem Hunt scored twice, once on a 2-yard run, and another time on a 39-run, both in the second quarter. With Hunt and Jones-Moore leading the way Toledo rattled off an astonishing 334 yards and four scores on the ground. All told the Rockets amassed 729 yards of total offense.
EMU was scrambling for air early on, which certainly wasn't aided by the curious decision to not play junior running back Bronson Hill at all, instead relying on Ryan Brumfield all game. Without the MAC's fifth leading rusher getting the ball, the Eagles struggled, totaling just 82 yards on the ground as a team.
A week after starting highly-touted freshman Brogan Roback, English opted to go with veteran starter Tyler Benz, but quickly switched to the freshman after Benz struggled. Benz finished the day just 1-of-5 for 18 yards. Roback faired fairly well against Toledo's bend-but-don't-break defense and was one of the few bright spots for the Eagles. He completed 50 percent of his passes for 209 yards, two touchdowns, but was also picked off once.
The win makes Toledo (6-3, 4-1 MAC) bowl eligible and further complicates the MAC West picture as NIU, Ball State and Toledo all look like teams on a mission to make a statement. EMU meanwhile slides further down the slop of a season going nowhere fast as it slips to 1-8 (0-5 MAC) on the season.