After a wek-long hiatus for the Thanksgiving holiday, we’re back for the biggest event of them all: the 2017 MAC Championship Game!
Last week saw the Wagon Wheel get claimed by Kent State in our simulation in a gutsy, come-from-behind victory by a final score of 16-15. To say art did not imitate life would be rather generous.
Akron managed to squeeze out a 24-14 win which was a lot closer on the box score than in reality.
Having to depend on Kent State leaves us at 2-8 on the season, putting us back in the lsoing column after a one-game win streak. The O/U could have been worse, but our number will still be under by 7 points, moving the meter to -233.
Before we get to the faux recap, this is where I tell you we assumed Kato Nelson was the starter and there wasn’t enough time to run another simulation after it was announced Thomas Woodson was back on the roster.
So with that in mind... let’s play!
The Toledo Rockets blasted off for 586 total yards on offense and limited Akron to 293 offensicve yards to secure their first MAC Championship since 2004 over the Akron Zips by a final score of 51-23.
Logan Woodside was sensational for the Rockets at the quarterback spot, throwing for 486 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions on 40-of-51 passing to earn Playyer of the Game honors.
Toledo set the tone early and often, with three passing touchdowns (one each to Desmond Phillips, Jon’Vea Johnson and Danzel McKinley-Lewis), a nine-yard Terry Swanson rushing touchdown and a 26-yard Jameson Vest field goal en route to a 31-0 halftime lead.
Akron would respond in the third quarter with a 15-point run of their own thanks to a 10-yard Manny Morgan touhdown run, a one-yard Van Edwards Jr. and a successful two-point conversion to make the score 31-15 at the end of the third quarter.
Toledo widened the lead by six on two Jameson Vest field goals to open up the fourth quarter before Tra’Von Chapman hauled in a 57-yard bomb from Kato Nelson. The Zips converted to make it a two-score game at the 4:05 mark of the quarter, but that left too much time on the clock for the Rockets.
Toledo would go on to score on a 1-yard passing touchdown to McKinley-Lewis with 1:03 to go in the game and force a 30-yard Ka’dar Hollman interception return for a touchdown with :47 to go to seal the game.
For the Rockets, Diontae Johnson led the receiving attack with 10 receptions for 146 yards, while Jon’Vea Johnson was close behind with 135 yards on six receptions with a touchdown. Danzel McKinley-Lewis (four receptions for 63 yards and two touchdowns) and Desmond Phillips (14 yards and a touchdown) also contributed to the scoring summary through the air.
Terry Swanson totalled 140 offensive yards on 26 total touches, scoring once on the ground to help shore up the numbers.
On defense, the Rockets collected four sacks, two interceptions and a defensive touchdown in a dominating performance. Ja’Wuan Woodley led the Rockets attack with eight tackles (all solo) and two tackles for loss, while Ole Adeniyi (two sacks) and DeDarallo Blue (interception) made big impacts as well. Nate Childress and Marquis Moore also collected sacks.
For Akron, the third quarter made numbers a bit more respectable, but it wasn’t a great night.
Kato Nelson, who had just 38 yards and an interception at the half, ended up with 270 yards on 27-of-39 passing and a touchdown.
Both running backs who entered for Akron scored touchdowns, but little else, as Manny Morgan (13 yards) and Van Edwards Jr. (14 yards) were non-factors on the ground, though Edwards did all 16 yards receiving on four catches.
Austin Wolf led Akron’s receivers with seven receptions for 98 yards, with Tra’Von Chapman had 76 yards and a touchdown on six receptions second on the list. Kwadarrius Smith also had 57 yards on six catches.
Ulysees Gilbert III (12 tackles all solo, one tackle for loss) and Andrew Hauser (11 tackles all solo, one tackle for loss) led all defensive players in the game. Jordan George was the defensive player of the game for Akron, collecting seven tackles (all solo) and an interception on the day, joining Denzel Butler in picks. Ibrahim Camara, Jamal Davis II, Brock Boxen, Brian Reinke and Josh Ward all collected one sack each on Logan Woodside.