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2017 Week 3 Recap: Toledo's offense rallies to beat Tulsa, 54-51

A shootout for the ages ends in walk-off Rocket victory

Ohio v Toledo Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images

Jameson West's 37-yard field goal attempt soared through the center of the uprights. The junior kicker knew his game-winning attempt was perfect and sprinted to the opposite end zone of the Glass Bowl, swarmed by a mob of men in dark blue uniforms.

Toledo slid past Tulsa, 54-51 in an instant classic shootout. In a game where touchdowns were scored seemingly every minute, it would be a kicker's leg that determined who would leave the contest with the victory.

There were 14 touchdowns, two field goals, 1,227 total yards of offense, 58 first downs, and 105 points — the second-largest scoring output in an FBS matchup this season (Tulsa-Louisiana scored 108). This game had everything.

Four touchdowns went for over 60 yards and another two scored from 49 yards out. There was a pick six, a one-handed "catch of the week" touchdown reception, a blocked extra point that ended up as a converted defensive PAT, and plenty of bombs down the sideline.

The offensive hero of the evening was Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside, who tied a program record of six touchdown passes in a single game. Woodside completed 22-of-33 passes for 458 yards, but most importantly, he jump-started the Rocket offense after trailing 28-7 in the middle of the first half.

Tulsa began the scoring fest early in the first quarter on a quarterback read option run by Chad President. The dual threat quarterback passed for 125 yards but exceeded this total with an impressive 130 yards on the ground.

The three Tulsa ball carriers on Saturday night — D'Angelo Brewer, Shamari Brooks, and President — rushed for 152, 141, and 130 yards, respectively. The duo totaled 423 yards and six rushing touchdowns in the running game.

Despite Tulsa's dominance on the ground, the defense could not stop Toledo. The Rockets scored their first touchdown of the night immediately after President's first score. Woodside connected with Danzel McKinley-Lewis in the middle of the field and the receiver did the rest of the work, bouncing the ball to the right sideline and winning the wind sprint to the house.

Brooks responded with a 63-yard touchdown run, but this time, Toledo did not answer. Instead, the Rockets would go three-and-out, stop Tulsa, and earn another opportunity in a game where every possession mattered. Penalties backed up Toledo to a 1st-and-40 on this possession. On 2nd-and-36, Woodside threw an errant interception (the only turnover of the night) to Tulsa's Craig Suits in the flat. Suits walked into the end zone, untouched, to lift Tulsa to a two-touchdown advantage, 21-14.

After the only strand of two-consecutive punts, Tulsa would eventually gain control of possession again. Brooks controlled this possession by running three of the four plays, including the short touchdown run. The visiting Golden Hurricane led 28-7, which would stand as the largest lead of the contest.

But with time dwindling in the first half, Toledo's offense came back to life following a sequence of miscues on both sides of the ball. The Rockets drove 95 yards in four minutes. With under 30 seconds to go before the bands came out, Woodside launched a bomb down the left sideline and the pigskin was sealed by his favorite target Cody Thompson for a 26-yard score to reduce the deficit to 14.

Thompson caught nine passes, earned 178 receiving yards, and scored three of Woodside's six touchdowns.

Receiving at halftime, Toledo would continue the scoring barrage. Senior running back Terry Swanson took the ball 49 yards to the end zone within the first minute of a second half that would feature eight touchdowns and 63 points. Tulsa answered with a rare field goal, but Thompson would get his opportunity to shine once again.

Down 10, Toledo got serious about its comeback effort. In a one-play possession, Woodside hit Thompson for an 81-yard score. On the ensuing drive, Woodside's arm would lead the Rockets down the field at a steady pace. On 3rd-and-10 from Tulsa's 15-yard line, Woodside threw a high ball to Thompson. Thompson snagged the ball with just his right hand, clutching it into his arms. The sensational catch, possibly the most impressive highlight in the shootout, finally boosted Toledo in front. After problems with the snap on the PAT, the Rockets' lead was only 34-31.

In a game where touchdowns were handed out like flyers on a college campus, Toledo's lead was short-lived. Anchored by a 48-yard President run, Tulsa drove down the field and finished with Brewer powering to the end zone. But no extra point was guaranteed in this chaotic battle. Tulsa's PAT was blocked by the Toledo offensive line and caught in the right side of the dark blue end zone by Josh Teachey.

As we learned from the famous Iron Bowl "Kick Six," returning missed and blocked field goals is actually a simple task when the kicking team is stacked with linemen on the field. Teachey navigated from the right side to the left side of the left in a Barry Sanders-like manner, receiving a few blocks and evading Tulsa tacklers to cut the 37-34 deficit to 37-36.

Toledo's follow-up drive was not as impressive. Woodside faced pressure on third down and was sacked by Tulsa's defense. The Rockets would punt and Tulsa capitalized on another brief possession. President passed his way down the field, but finished by driving his legs to the end zone. The first-year starting quarterback broke free for a 39-yard scamper to extend the lead to 44-36 with 12:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Toledo's attempt to tie the game was predictably successful. Woodside hooked up with a wide open Diontae Johnson on a seam route down the left sideline. Johnson walked in and the Rockets decided to attempt the two-point conversion. Woodside once again struck gold and completed his pass to knot the game up at 44 apiece.

After the Rocket defense showed up in crunch time, the ball would once again be in Woodside's hands. On the first play of a drive with slightly over eight minutes to go, Woodside founded Johnson once again on a vertical pattern. This touchdown was recorded at 74 yards, giving Toledo a 51-44 lead — its largest of the night.

Tulsa killed the clock on its final possession. The Golden Hurricane elected to keep the ball on the ground 11 times. Brooks punched the ball into the end zone from one yard out with 2:47 remaining.

Toledo's walk-off drive would not have been possible if it weren't for Tulsa's inexplicable penalties. On 3rd-and-5 with Toledo backed up in its own territory, the Golden Hurricane were called for a crucial pass interference that would sustain the drive. A personal foul one play later would launch the Rockets into Tulsa territory.

Toledo took its time, handing the ball to Swanson on several plays in the final minutes. But a key 18-yard completion to Thompson on the right side of the field would place the Rockets in favorable field position at the Tulsa 21. Swanson contributed five more yards, providing Toledo an opportunity at a 37-yard field goal.

Vest was iced twice by Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery, who added as much pressure as he could manage to the kicker from Peachtree City, GA. When time finally came to initiate the kick, Toledo executed perfectly. The snap, the hold, and the kick lifted Toledo to a 54-51 lead with triple zeros on the game clock.

Toledo would celebrate its triumph in its home stadium, jumping to 3-0 for the third-consecutive season. In a game of abundant yards and frequent points, Toledo won by simply owning the final possession.