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Toledo Survives Ground and Pound Thriller, Beating Navy 45-44 In Double Overtime

This game featured plenty of rushing from both sides, but in the end it all came down to the feet of a pair of kickers, with Toledo's Jeremiah Detmer making the difference.

Jeremiah Detmer's leg once again saved the day for the Toledo Rockets.
Jeremiah Detmer's leg once again saved the day for the Toledo Rockets.

The turf in the Glass Bowl took a beating Saturday as Navy and Toledo combined for 740 total rushing yards on the day in a double overtime thriller that came down to a kick. The Toledo Rockets 4-3 (2-1 MAC) came out with the 45-44 victory on the right foot of Jeremiah Detmer.

The two teams traded blows all night, with the lead changing or tying eight times throughout the game. Both squads relied heavily on their running games, with the Midshipmen rushing the ball an eye-popping 93 times. Toledo's David Fluellen was the difference maker, giving the Rockets a 17-14 lead early in the third on his 19 carry, 153 yard performance that included a score. But he went down early in the fourth with an injured back, leaving the Rockets with freshman Kareem Hunt as the load carrier.

Hunt had a huge game, carrying the ball 15 times for 127 yards and two scores, including a 16-yard scamper at the beginning of the fourth quarter to give Toledo a 10-point lead. But it wouldn't last.

Navy's triple option offense proved to be a headache for the Rockets' defense all afternoon, and it gave the unit fits late in the fourth. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds maneuvered the Midshipmen down the field like an expert skipper, scoring on a 3-yard run, his second of three on the day, with under five to go in regulation. Then minutes later, as time expired in regulation, Navy knocked through a 40-yard field goal to send the game into overtime.

In overtime, Toledo had the ball first, and hit a wall about 13-yards out. It was 4th and a long 2, and head coach Matt Campbell went the safe route by sending out the Detmer and the kicking unit. But Campbell then called a timeout, and after discussing it with his team, sent out the offense, and freshman running back Damion Jones-Moore to get the first down. Jones-Moore bullied his way through on a five yard run to set up his 1-yard touchdown run a few plays later. But Navy, not to be outdone, once again executed the triple option to perfection, and Reynolds scooted on into the endzone to send things into a second overtime.

The Midshipmen scored relatively easy, but shanked the extra point wide left giving them a 44-38 lead over Toledo. On their first play of the second overtime the Rockets scored on a 20-yard pass from Terrance Owens to Bernard Reedy to tie the game up, and Detmer sailed the extra point through for the win.

The running attack of Toledo went tit for tat with Navy, and it was needed. That TD pass was Owens' only of the day, as he was plagued by a series of key drops from receivers Reedy and Alonzo Russell throughout the game. Owens finished 11 for 20 with 105 yards, a TD and an interception.

Toledo also had a key fumble recover for a touchdown early in the second quarter, giving the team four straight games with a scoop and score.

No news has been given on Fluellen's status, though he was seen walking around after the game.

The Rockets return to action next week against Bowling Green for an interdivisional showdown that puts two of the conferences best rushing attacks head to head.

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