Rockets Fall Short to Zips, 31-29, in Regular-Season Finale
Akron, OH – Despite getting 100-yard rushing efforts from a pair of freshman running backs, Toledo lost to Akron, 31-29, in the regular-season finale at Akron Friday afternoon.
Redshirt freshmen Marc Remy scored on a three-yard touchdown run with 59 seconds left to pull Toledo to within two points. But quarterback Terrance Owens pass in the corner to Justin Olack for the two-point conversion was wrestled away from him by a Zip defender. Akron then recovered the ensuing on-side to give the Zips their biggest victory of the season.
Toledo falls to 7-5, 5-3 MAC. Akron finishes with a 5-7 mark, 4-4 in league play.
With senior running back David Fluellen sidelined with a foot injury, true freshman Kareem Hunt stepped up and rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries. But Hunt came out with a foot injury himself in the third quarter, thrusting Remy into the limelight. Remy matched Hunt’s total of 103 yards on 16 attempts. Senior quarterback Terrance Owens completed 16-of-33 passes for 158 yards the three TDs, two to junior Dwight Macon.
Akron was led by sophomore quarterback Kyle Pohl, who threw for 259 yards on 18-of-29 passes and three scores.
Toledo opened the scoring with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Owens to Macon. The 43-yard drive was set up by a fumble recovery by Vladimir Emilien that was forced by Jordan Martin following a completed pass. Akron answered with a 58-yard drive that led to a 19-yard TD strike from Pohl to L.T. Smith.
Toledo regained the lead midway through the second quarter on a 30-yard field goal by Jeremiah Detmer, his 13th consecutive make of the season. Akron came right back to knot the score at 10-10, on a 22-yard field goal by Robert Stein.
Akron coach Terry Bowden then rolled the dice and it paid off, converting a fake punt into a touchdown. Facing fourth-and-three from their own 16-yard-line, the Zips snapped the ball to up-back Austin Bailey, who ran left for 16 yards for the first down. Pohl then marched the Zips the rest of the way in five plays, completing passes of 13, 26 and 27 yards to set up a two-yard TD run by Jawon Chisholm to give Akron a 17-10 halftime lead.
The Zips gambled again on their second possession of the second half, passing up a 20-yard field on fourth-and-2. Instead, Pohl rolled right and hit tight end Jon Root for the three-yard touchdown to give Akron a 24-10 edge.
Toledo cut the lead to seven points on Macon’s second TD grab of the day, this one from 12 yards out to cap a 14-play, 77-yard drive. The Rockets missed a chance to tie the score on their first possession of the fourth quarter when Owens’ 10-yard pass on third down to Alonzo Russell in the end zone was intercepted.
The Rockets still only trailed by seven when Campbell tried a gamble of his own, going for a fake punt on fourth-and-seven from the UT 34-yard line. Unfortunately, Junior Sylvestre was brought down after a one-yard gain, giving Akron the ball at the UT 35. Pohl then hit Tyrell Goodman for a 35-yard touchdown to give the Zips a 31-17 lead with 6:33 to play.
Owens came right back less than a minute later, hitting Bernard Reedy with a 28-yard strike in the back of the end zone. However, the extra point was blocked, giving the Zips and eight-point cushion, 31-23.
Toledo forced an Akron punt with 3:50 left, and Owens marched the Rockets 56 yards for their final score with less than a minute left. The Toledo sideline called for an interference call on the two-point conversion pass from Owens to Olack but no call came, sending the Rockets home with their first loss to a MAC East Division team since 2009.
Toledo is still bowl eligible and will now wait to see what their bowl assignment will be. Bowl berths will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 7.