Toledo, OH - The Toledo Rockets combined an efficient passing attack with a stingy defense to dispose of Eastern Michigan, 54-16, at the Glass Bowl Saturday afternoon. The victory kept Toledo (3-3, 2-0 MAC) perfect in league play and sitting atop the MAC's West Division along with Western Michigan. EMU falls to 3-3, 1-1 in the MAC.
Toledo's two quarterbacks, junior Austin Dantin and sophomore Terrance Owens, combined for 27-of-30 passing for 302 yards and four touchdowns. Owens connected on 13-of-14 passes (92.9 percent) to set the single-game completion percentage mark by a Rocket signal-caller, breaking the record previously held by current Cincinnati Bengal Bruce Gradkowski (23-of-25 vs. Buffalo in 2003). Dantin was almost as accurate, hitting 14-of-16 passes.
Junior Eric Page caught 11 passes for 109 yards, vaulting him past current Arizona Cardinal Stephen Williams to the top spot on UT's career receptions list with 235. Senior Morgan Williams (71 yards and one TD) and sophomore David Fluellen (74 yards) combined for 145 yards to lead the rushing attack.
Despite losing two key players to injury - junior defense end T.J. Fatinikun and junior safety Jermaine Robinson - the Rockets' defense came up big, holding EMU to just 16 points and 227 yards of total offense. Fatinikun and Robinson both left the game in the first half with what appeared to be arm injuries. Beckman said after the game he thought Robinson would be in the lineup next week, but was not sure about Fatinikun.
Toledo opened the scoring with a five-play drive midway through the first quarter, capped by a wide-open 19-yard TD pass from Dantin to Williams. UT made it 14-0 on a 55-yard scoring strike from Owens to sophomore Bernard Reedy with 10 minutes left in the second quarter. Moments later, Page made it 21-0 on an 85-yard punt return, the first TD off a punt return in his career.
EMU got on the scoreboard thanks to a career-long 48-yard field goal by Kody Fulkerson with 3:37 left in the first half. Moments later, the Eagles followed that up with a quick score, a 22-yard pass from Alex Gillett to Thomas Kinsman. But Fulkerson's ensuing extra-point attempt was blocked by Danny Farr, recovered by Desmond Marrow and returned the length of the field for two points for UT, making the score 23-9 at the half.
Toledo put the game away with three consecutive scores in the third quarter. UT's second drive stalled at EMU's two-yard line so senior Ryan Casano converted a 19-yard field goal. But the Rockets' next two drives went the distance. Senior Kenny Stafford grabbed a two-yard TD pass and Page hauled in a 24-yarder to make the score 40-9 after three periods.
The Rockets tacked on two more scores in the fourth quarter, a one-yard rush by Williams and a three-yard plunge by junior David Pasquale. EMU closed out its scoring on a three-yard run by Dominique White with just over 10 minutes left.
The Rockets travel to arch-rival Bowling Green next Saturday in a noon matchup.