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Toledo Rockets vs. Bowling Green Falcons football recap: Toledo takes sixth straight Battle of I-75, wins 44-28

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The Rockets still have hope in the West.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

For the sixth year in a row, the Toledo Rockets (9-1, 6-1 Mid-American Conference) have beaten the Bowling Green Falcons (8-3, 6-1 MAC) 44-28.

The Falcons started out really slowly in the first half. On their first play of the game, Matt Johnson's pass to Roger Lewis hit him right in the numbers, popped the ball up in the air for Toledo safety Cheatham Norrils. After rushing for 265 yards against them last year, it wasn't much of a surprise to see Kareem Hunt carry the ball four times to get Toledo on the board first with a rushing touchdown.

Toledo just continued to roll in the first half as Hunt had 100 rushing yards in the first quarter and the team grabbed a 20-0 lead before BGSU got on the board. Travis Greene may have become the new all-time leading rusher for the school, but redshirt-freshman Fred Coppet's 5-yard score in the second quarter gave the Falcons their first touchdown of the day.

Jameson Vest missed both of his field goal attempts last week against Central Michigan, but made all three in the first half, including a 35-yarder midway through the second quarter. Hunt followed up on the following drive with his second rushing touchdown of the day to put UT ahead 30-7, scoring on their first six drives of the game.

Johnson broke the single-season passing record in school history in the first half, now has 4,229 passing yards on the year. After a season-low 269 yards last week, Johnson had 274 yards through the air completing 61.7 percent of his passes.

But the second half opened up much like the first, just the other way around. The Rockets had the ball on offense to open up the next half, had his pass intercepted by Austin Valdez on a 3rd and long, just to have Matt Johnson and Gehrig Dieter hook up again in the end zone on a pretty controversial call.

Why stop it? Johnson to Dieter has been the most effective part of Bowling Green's offense all night and there's no reason to go away from it. The third touchdown for the two came midway through the third quarter. Johnson rolled out to his right, juked to his left evading a defender, threw a bullet over the middle with Dieter coming across for the grab, making it a 9-point ball game in the Rockets' favor.

After the first pass to Lewis was picked off, he became a non-factor for the most part. Only one catch in the first half, finished with three receptions for 32 yards. Dieter stole the show as the team's leading receiver with 13 receptions for 103 yards with three scores.

Fourth quarter rolled around and as Johnson went to drive their team down field, but a pass to Dieter was caught and stripped away by Rolan Milligan putting the ball back in UT's hands. And just like you're supposed to do, the Rockets responded with a 9-play drive that lasted a little longer than five minutes to get them up to 44 points.

Falcons had very little to respond with, found themselves in a 4th and long at midfield on the next drive, but Johnson's pass attempt to Ryan Burbrink on the sidelines was broken up by Chase Murdock. He'd have another shot after Vest missed a 51-yard field goal, but his pass to Lewis was taken away by Norrils for his second interception of the day.

Bowling Green will no longer go undefeated in conference play, but they are in no danger of losing their spot in the MAC Championship game after clinching last week. The Falcons will close out their regular season at Ball State. Toledo's chances to win the West stay alive, but it's still a rough climb. Refer to this to see how the MAC West tiebreakers will work.