TOLEDO, OHIO – The Toledo Rockets gave the nationally ranked Miami Hurricanes all they could handle for three quarters trailing the nationally ranked Hurricanes by four points at the end of the third quarter.
However, a football game is four quarters, as the Hurricanes scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to break open a close game for a 49-24 victory before a sellout crowd of 28,117 Saturday afternoon at the Glass Bowl.
Miami (2-1) picked up their second consecutive victory. They opened the season a 33-14 loss to nationally ranked Louisiana State and then routed Savannah State in their home opener last week and improved their record to 7-0 lifetime against Mid-American Conference opposition.
Senior quarterback Malik Rosier completed 13-of-23 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he rushed for 80 yards and three scores. Junior RB DeeDay Dallas led the ground game with 110 yards on 17 carries as the visitors from South Florida gained 473 yards of total offense.
Toledo (1-1) saw their record fall to 4-15 lifetime against the Atlantic Coast Conference as they saw their first home game against a Power five conference since they played Missouri in 2014.
Sophomore QB Mitchell Guadagni completed 13-of-21 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. He was also UT’s leading rusher in the contest with 47 yards on 15 carries most of his yards was when he was flushed out of the pocket and gained ket first downs.
The UT defense was led by senior defensive tackle Reggie Howard Jr. who had eight total tackles (three solos).
In a first half that was played in fog and cloudy skies, the Hurricanes built a 21-0 lead in the second quarter as Rosier rushed for two scores form five and two yards out as well as connecting with sophomore Wide Receiver Jeff Thomas from 38-yards away on a go pattern. Thomas finished the game with 105 yards on five receptions.
Just before halftime, the skies turned sunny and the Rockets found a spark after having trouble moving the ball on the UM defense,Guadagni engineered an eight-play 65 yard drive capping UT’s first score connecting with junior WR Dionte Johnson over the middle from seven yards out to narrow the Miami lead to 21-7 at intermission.
The touchdown gave the Rockets much needed momentum. Not only on the field but for the sellout crowd.
As the third quarter began, the Rockets took it to the Hurricanes holding them to one first down on the opening drive of the period then scored their second touchdown to make it 21-14 when junior RB Art Thompkins capped an 81-yard seven-play drive with a seven-yard touchdown run around the left side to make it 21-14.
After Miami pushed the lead back to 28-14 on a 19-yard scoring run by Dallas, the Rockets countered that touchdown drive with one of their own as it took just three-plays to traverse 65 yards as Guadgni and Dionte Johnson connected for their second touchdown connection.
This one from 40 yards away as Johnson caught the pass in the middle of the field. He shrugged off a tackle and went in untouched for the score. On the day the junior had six catches for 119 yards and the two scores.
Late in the period, Miami pushed the lead out to 35-21 in what proved to be the biggest drive of the game. UM went 70-yards in 16 plays taking six minutes off the clock. They converted on three third-down opportunities and once on fourth down. From the five-yard line, when Rosier found junior WR Lawrence Cager on a fade route from five yards out.
On the next Rockets possession, Guadagni again had the offense moving. As the fourth quarter began UT moved from their own 24 to the Hurricanes 19 before the defense stiffened. PK Jameson Vest connected on a 47-yard field goal just 40 seconds into the period. However, they would the final points the Midnight Blue and Gold would score on the afternoon.
The Hurricanes put their stamp on the game from that point on as Rosier scored his third rushing touchdown of the game, a 37-yard run up the middle.
One play after the touchdown, Guadgni was intercepted by sophomore S Trajan Bandy at the Toledo 35. The interception ended any hopes of a UT comeback as a one-yard touchdown run by fifth-year senior RB Trayone Gary ended the scoring.
In the fourth quarter, Miami outgained Toledo 109-33 while outscoring them 14-3.
Toledo completes this three-game homestand next Saturday when they face the Wolfpack of Nevada from the Mountain West Conference.