The Eastern Michigan Eagles (2-2, 0-1 MAC) and the Toledo Rockets (3-1) put up an exciting show at the Glass Bowl in Toledo. A lot of penalties and missed kicks later in the first quarter made it look like it would be a long day. Both teams improved their play and made the game interesting. Toledo squeaked away with the victory, 20-15.
Toledo ran into issues quickly when star receiver Cody Thompson left the game injured after one completion. Logan Woodside persevered by putting up 289 yards and going 23-for-34. Danzel McKinley-Lewis and Diontae Johnson led the Rockets in receptions, with 61 and 97 yards respectively. Jon’Vea Johnson was held in check by Ross Williams’ tight coverage. Despite the potent passing attack, Woodside did not score on any passes.
Art Thompkins and Shakif Seymour took turns running for the Rockets. Thompkins led Toledo with 94 rushing yards and a touchdown. Seymour saw the end zone with a touchdown and 55 rushing yards. Toledo finished with 130 rushing yards.
My man Jameson Vest was not nearly as clutch for Toledo. He ended up going two-for-four on field goals, but made both extra points. Vest was successful from 27 and 20 yards away. One missed field goal was the victim of a bad hold, the other missing wide left from 35 yards away. Bailey Flint struggled punting for Toledo, recording only 31- and eight-yard punts. Michael Juilan kicked the other two punts with much more success.
Brogan Roback threw most of the game, mostly due to the run game never developing. He went 23-for-39, 226 yards passing, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Roback spread the ball around to nine different receivers. Sergio Bailey II and Matthew Sexton led the Eagles with 72 and 60 yards respectively. John Niupalau and Antione Porter each recorded receiving touchdowns. Receiver Isaac Holder also completed a 27-yard pass.
Eastern Michigan had a lot of difficulty running against the Rocket linebacker crew. The Eagles were led by Ian Eriksen with 54 yards rushing. Eastern Michigan ended with 73 yards rushing.
Eastern Michigan’s Paul Fricano did not fare well from his kicker position. He made one field goal from 46 yards. Fricano missed an extra point and a 50-yard field goal attempt, despite the confusion in the play-by-play.
Which game are these guys watching? pic.twitter.com/N8588eYbyb— Deadspin (@Deadspin) October 7, 2017
The Eagles kept the Rockets guessing with their punting schemes. Punts came from Jake Julien and Ivan Oraha in punt formation, Brogan Roback in the pistol formation, and even Paul Fricano from field goal formation.
Toledo opened up the scoring with a 27-yard Jameson Vest field goal. Each team exchanged a pair of missed field goals on the ensuing possessions. Brogan Roback scored the first touchdown of the game on an 11-yard pass to John Niupalau. Paul Fricano failed to convert the extra point, leaving a 6-3 score. After another missed Rocket field goal, Toledo marched down for a touchdown. Shakif Seymour took three plays to score a one-yard touchdown. The 10-6 score would last until halftime.
Back-up punter Ivan Oraha for Eastern Michigan failed to kick the ball out of the Eagle red-zone, giving Toledo fantastic field position. Toledo’s Art Thompkins ran all 18 yards on one play for a touchdown. Paul Fricano redeemed himself with a 46-yard field goal for the Eagles, cutting the Toledo lead to 17-9. Eastern Michigan responded with a fourth quarter touchdown pass from Roback to Antione Porter. The Eagles went for a two-point conversion, but Roback’s pass was caught by Porter out-of-bounds after a lengthy review.
Eastern Michigan’s next drive came up short when Khalil Robinson intercepted Brogan Roback twice on consecutive drives. Toledo used the first of those drives to run the clock down and make a 20-yard Jameson Vest field goal.
In the first quarter, the referees penalized the schools with eight total penalties for 87 yards. Toledo accounted for six of those penalties. By the end of the game, Eastern Michigan accrued seven penalties for 86 yards. Toledo had a whopping nine penalties for 85 yards.
Toledo (4-1, 1-0 MAC) will travel to Mount Pleasant to take on the Central Michigan Chippewas (2-3, 0-1 MAC).
Eastern Michigan (2-3, 0-2 MAC) will travel to West Point to take on the Army Black Knights (3-2).