Phillip Ely is the reason why the Toledo Rockets could have lost the game, but ended up being a big reason why they won it instead. A pair of interceptions to give Ball State's newfound confident offense isn't the best way to start out, as the Rocket quarterback did, but those interceptions were his only incomplete passes to his team -- perfect otherwise. He battled back after the interceptions and had 444 yards with Toledo's 24-10 win.
Shaking those two plays off with a 0-0 scoreboard to still play on, thanks to the Toledo pass rush, Ely went on to complete 16 of his next 20 passes for 164 yards and two scores. He was spreading it around a lot too. His first eight completions were all to different receivers. He connected with Corey Jones a few times in the third quarter, ended with four catches and 27 yards.
Without Kareem Hunt, the Rockets rushing attack was still good. Terry Swanson earned the most carries and led the game with 24 carries and 139 yards. The Cardinal offense was pegged a lot by the defense: Darian Green with 15 rushing yards, James Gilbert had 11 carries for 29 yards.
The pass rush from Toledo was much better than anticipated, considering how groomed the Ball State offensive line is. They got to Riley Neal early and often, forced bad or unbalanced throws and even a pair of sacks. Neal was mute in the rushing attack, was 23-for-37 through the air for 236 yards. You usually see more points than this when there's a run game established.
Just about all of the scoring was in the first half, where Toledo put up all 24 of their points. Neal and Jordan Williams connected on a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but it wouldn't do enough to change the outcome. Williams continues to be an ace receiver, seven grabs for 100 yards.