Fluellen Carries Toledo Past Buffalo, 25-20
Amherst, NY - Junior David Fluellen had a memorable homecoming, rushing for a career-high 228 yards and two touchdowns to lead Toledo to a 25-20 victory over Buffalo in a rain-soaked game at UB Stadium on Saturday.
Fluellen, who grew up in nearby Lockport, NY, gained 178 yards in the second half to rally the Rockets back from a 14-7 halftime deficit to win their eighth consecutive game. He scored on runs of eight yards and one yard in the second half. His second TD was set up by runs of 17, 49 and 19 yards that accounted for all 86 yards of the four-play drive.
Buffalo pulled to within five points, 25-20, on the second play of the fourth quarter but failed to move the ball on its final three possesions. Toledo reserve defensive end Colby Kratch recovered a UB fumble with 1:30 left to seal the win.
Toledo's defense was led once again by senior LB Dan Molls. the nation's leading tackler whp had a game-high 14 tackles to go with a first-half interception for a touchdown.
Toledo moves to 8-1 (5-0 MAC) and will wait until tomorrow to see if it cracks the Top 25. The Rockets were 26th in the AP poll going into the game.
Defenses dominated the first half, with each scoring one touchdown on the defensive side of the ball. Buffalo's Cortney Lester picked off an Owens' pass midway through the first quarter and returned it 23 yards for the score to give Buffalo a 7-0 lead. Toledo tied the score a few minutes later when senior lineman Hank Keighley caused a fumble that was scooped up by Molls and taken in for a 13-yard score.
Buffalo went ahead 14-7 on a 42-yard pass from Alex Zordich to Devin Campbell with 7:06 to play. Toledo had a tough time getting any traction, gaining just 115 yards and going 1-of-8 on third-down conversations.
Toledo got it going in the third quarter, taking just 1:54 to score on its first drive of the half. Fluellen finished off a six-play, 73-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run. Detmer's extra point was blocked, however, allowing Buffalo to hang onto a 14-13 lead. Fluellen came right back on UT's next possession and put the Rockets ahead on carries of 17, 49, 19 and one yard, the last one for the score. Detmer's extra point was blocked again, putting Toledo up, 19-14.
Toledo extended the lead to 25-14 with 1:51 left in the third quarter on a seven-yard toss from Owens to freshman tight end Alex Zmolik, the first score of his career. For the third time in the half, Detmer's extra-point attempt was no good, this time wide left.
Buffalo pulled to within five points, 25-20, on the second play of the fourth quarter on a eight-yard pass from Joe Licata to Alex Neutz. The Bulls' attempt for a two-point conversion failed when Licata's pass fell incomplete.
Neither team seriously threatened to score the rest of the way as Toledo held on for its eighth straight win.
The Rockets will be off next Saturday but will return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 6 to face Ball State at the Glass Bowl.