SYRACUSE, NY - Despite a heroic effort by an injury-riddled Rocket squad, the University of Toledo succumbed to Syracuse, 33-30, in overtime at the Carrier Dome Saturday afternoon.
Ross Krautman kicked a 27-yard field goal in OT to give the Orange a hard-fought victory. Toledo had the first possession in overtime, but on the first play from scrimmage junior QB Austin Dantin's pass into the end zone for sophomore WR Bernard Reedy was intercepted by SU's Kevyn Scott.
Toledo sent the game into overtime on a 20-yard field goal by senior Ryan Casano with no time on the clock. The Rockets drove 65 yards in the final 2:07 of regulation to set up the game-tying field goal. Syracuse had taken the lead moments earlier on an 18-yard pass from Ryan Nassib to Alec Lemon.
Toledo was led by junior WR Eric Page, who caught a season-high 13 passes for 158 yards. Sophomore David Fluellen, subbing for the injured Adonis Thomas, rushed for 62 yards and caught a 29-yard TD pass. Dantin finished 22-of-32 for 258 yards and one touchdown.
The Rockets opened the game with their longest drive a of the year, a 22-play, 75-yard series that culminated in a 20-yard field goal by Casano. Toledo got a break on the next series when T.J. Fatinikun recovered a botched snap on the Syracuse 30-yard line. Three plays later, Morgan Williams made the score 10-0 on a 21-yard run off a direct snap on third-and-one.
Syracuse countered 25-yard TD pass from Rayan Nassib to Nick Provo to cap a five-play, 55-yard drive early in the second quarter. Toledo caught a bad break on the ensuing kickoff when Page returned the kick 96 yards for the score but the play was called back for an illegal block in the back.
The Orange then forced UT to punt and tied the score at 10-10 on a 33-yard field goal by Ross Krautman. Krautman gave Syracuse the lead, 13-0, on a 31-yarder with 1:06 to play.
Toledo managed to squeeze in nine plays in the final minute to set up a 52-yard field goal attempt by freshman Jeremiah Detmer. Detmer nailed his first collegiate attempt through the uprights on the final play of the half to knot the score at 13-13. It was the second-longest field goal in UT history, second only to Todd France's 55-yarder vs. Western Michigan in 2001.
The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter to set up the drama in the fourth quarter and overtime. Toledo went ahead on a 29-yard pass from Dantin to Fluellen. The Orange answered with a 20-yard rushing TD from Antwon Bailey.
Syracuse jumped out front on a 29-yard field goal from Krautman with 12:37 to play. Toledo struck back quickly on a Williams' rushing TD from three yards out to go up, 27-23, with 10:54 to play.
Toledo suffered some more bad injury news when Thomas left the game following his first rushing attempt in the first quarter. He returned from the locker room with his left arm in a soft cast. Best said Thomas' arm was broken and he will be out for 3-4 weeks.
In the third quarter, senior CB Desmond Marrow was taken off the field in a stretcher following what appeared to be concussion following helmet-to-helmet contact with a Syracuse player. Marrow was taken to a local hospital for a CT scan, which was negative. He had full movement and will recover, Beckman said after the game. Marrow returned with the squad to Toledo on the team's charter flight.
The Rockets (1-3, 0-0 MAC) open up Mid-American Conference play at Temple (3-1, 0-0 MAC) next Saturday.
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