It was nearly 70 degrees at kick-off at InfoCision Stadium in Akron. A rare treat in early November for Northeast Ohio. It might have inspired the fans to show up in droves, had game 7 of the World Series not been taking place a short trip up I-77.
The game started out with Toledo moving the ball, but stalling at the Akron 40. A solid punt, the only one of the quarter, put the ball at the 9. Exactly one play later, Akron’s Thomas Woodson hit receiver Jerome Lane for a 91 yard touchdown. Both offenses moved the ball after that, amassing over 300 total yards for the quarter, but had troubles punching in touchdowns. Akron led 10-3 at the end of the quarter, with Toledo driving.
Toledo scored on the first play of the second half, to bring the teams even. Akron moved the ball, but had their drives stall during the entire second quarter. Woodson appeared to injure his hand after hitting a defenders helmet on a throw, and it’s possible this had an affect. His throws weren’t as crisp as they were in the first quarter.
Toledo had a long drive that started on their own 6, but after getting to the Akron 5, they were forced to kick a field goal. That put Toledo up 13-10.
Toward the end of the half, Toledo caught a brake after a nice punt return by Corey Jones gave them the ball near midfield, with less than a minute to go. Logan Woodside was able to hit Michael Roberts on an 18 yard scoring strike as the clock hit zero. Toledo went into the locker room ahead 20-10
A lot of the fireworks in the first half came from near misses. I counted 5 throws that should have been interceptions, at least 3 of which that would have been pick sixes. Kareem Hunt had a long scoring run called back because of a hold by the back side guard. To some, it was a questionable call.
The second half started with a stop by Toledo. It would be the last defensive stop by either team for a while. Toledo marched down the field and scored on a 6 play, 69 yard drive that ended on a 2 yard Kareem Hunt score. The drive only took 1:47, helped in large part by a 36 yard Cody Thompson reception.
On Akron’s ensuing possession, they mixed the run and pass to march 75 yards for the score. It only took 8 plays, and ended with a 27 yard Woodson pass to JoJo Natsun Jr.
Toledo’s next drive was time consuming, at least for this game, at 5:24. It went 71 yards on 12 plays. The longest play was a 13 yard run by Kareem Hunt. It wasn’t the most important, however. After two more runs by Hunt, he hurt his wrist, and did not return. The drive ended with a Terry Swanson 7 yard scamper, putting the Rockets up 34-17.
As expected, Akron got the ball back and moved down the field. Then, on throw from the Toledo 15, Thomas Woodson threw a pass that defender Connery Swift caught. A slight miracle after watching the first half. It looked like a timing route where the receiver zigged when Woodson expected him to zag.
At this point, it was early in the fourth quarter, and Akron’s defense needed to step up. They didn’t. A key third and 9 was picked up by a screen pass. The 80 yard scoring drive was capped with a Zach Yousey 44 yard TD reception. Effectively putting the game away.
Toledo would get another TD late, putting the final score at 48-17.
The Rockets running game was effective, with Kareem Hunt running for 136 yards on 17 carries and TD. Terry Swanson added 67 on 10 with a touchdown. Art Thompkins had 6 rushes for 39 yards in clean up duty.
Logan Woodside had 327 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, with zero picks. He is starting to get the old Peyton Manning effect where he is so phenomenal, that great games start to seem average. The powers that be put undefeated WMU at 23, below a three loss team. They can at least throw this guy a bone and mention him as an also-ran for the Heisman. We all know he isn’t going to win it, at least throw him a bone. He is leading the country in TD passes, and only has 5 picks on the year.
His Akron counterpart, Woodson threw for 316 yards, 2 TDs and that one interception. 177 of those yards were to receiver Jerome Lane.
Denzel Jones Jr. had 72 yards on 11 carries for the Zips. With Treyvon Hester out for the Rockets, I am a little shocked the Zips didn’t rely on their running game a more.