Toledo moved to 2-0 on Saturday night, defeating former MAC foe UMass 55-7 at the Glass Bowl. It was the second straight dominant performance from the Rockets, who certainly look the part of a conference title contender through two weeks.
The defense picked up right where it left off in Week 1, forcing UMass to punt on their first three drives. After a slow start last week against Long Island, the Toledo offense wasted no time getting started in this one. On the Rockets first possession, Dequan Finn led an eight-play, 41-yard drive, capped off by a two-yard Peny Boone touchdown run.
The Rockets second possession was much of the same, with Finn scoring courtesy of a 21-yard run to give Toledo a 14-0 lead. It took the Rockets only six plays to cover the 64 yards necessary, led by Finn and a 23 yard run from Micah Kelly.
The UMass defense consistently proved incapable of slowing this Rockets offense down throughout the remainder of the first half (and the entire game, really). Both of Toledo’s next two possessions ended in touchdowns, one via Peny Boone’s second scoring run of the night, and the other being capped off by an 11-yard touchdown catch from Devin Maddox. It wasn’t until the Rockets fifth drive of the night when UMass was able to get a stop, forcing Toledo into a three and out.
It was already 28-0 by that point, but to give the Minutemen some credit, the offense did show some life before halftime. After the Rockets punt, UMass went 59 yards in 11 plays and found the end zone for the first time, courtesy of a one-yard run by Isaiah Holiness. 28-7 would be your score at the break.
The second half was much of the same. The Rockets needed only six plays to go 75 yards out of the locker room, extending their lead to 35-7 via a 15-yard scoring run from Dequan Finn.
After a three-and-out from the UMass offense, Toledo took over at their own 20. This time, it took the Rockets only three plays (one being a defensive pass interference penalty) to find the end zone, as Jacquez Stewart ran 26 yards to give the Rockets a 42-7 lead. Toledo added a field goal before the end of the third quarter, extending their lead to 45-7. The game had long been decided by this point.
After a second field goal from Thomas Cluckey gave the Rockets a 48-7 advantage, Willie Shaw became the fourth Rocket to score a rushing touchdown on the evening, rounding out the Rockets scoring for the evening and extending the lead to 55-7.
The UMass offense mounted only their second viable drive of the game as time wound down, this time going 69 yards in 19 plays. After stalling out inside the Toledo 10, kicker Cameron Carson brought a close to the evenings’ scoring, making a 24-yard field goal to bring the tally to 55-10.
For the second straight week, the Toledo defense was completely dominant. For the second straight week, the Toledo defense never gave the opposition any breathing room, holding the Minutemen to 253 total yards and a meager 3.5 yards per play. That’s a total that even triple option teams can often surpass, and the constant pressure by the Rockets front seven was a big reason why. UMass quarterbacks Gino Campiotti and Brady Olson combined to complete only seven of their 17 pass attempts. The Minutemen did manage 205 rush yards, though only 3.8 yards per attempt.
Offensively, the Rockets ground game was superb. Dequan Finn led the way, with 78 yards and two scores on seven carries. As a team, Toledo finished with 234 yards on 37 attempts. Four different Rockets running backs found the end zone.
Finn once again showed why he is one of the most dynamic players in the MAC, though he did struggle just a bit through the air. Finn finished 12-of-26 for 177 yards and a touchdown. While completing less than half of your passes is not ideal, Finn did take care of the ball, which has become a dependable upside of his game.
This one was never in question, from the opening kickoff, Toledo was clearly the superior team, and for the second straight week the Rockets defense quickly eliminated any chance of a competitive contest.
Next week, the level of competition steps up considerably.
The Rockets will travel to Columbus to take on national title contender Ohio State, the first meeting between the two programs since 2011. It’s a game Rockets fans remember well, with a late Carlos Hyde rushing touchdown giving the Buckeyes a narrow 27-22 win.
The Rockets have looked the part of MAC title contender through two weeks, and they have in front of them a chance to shock the world. If you’re a MAC fan, this game is must see television. Kickoff from the Horseshoe is set for 7:00 pm.