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Brown leads Ohio to 1st win at Toledo since 1967

Bobcats never trail, hold off Rockets late


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TOLEDO – It was a streak longer than the Mid-American Conference championship drought.

Dorian Brown rushed for 212 yards, and Ohio defeated Toledo, 31-26, for the Bobcats’ first road victory against the Rockets since 1967.

"This team is amazing; they never quit," Ohio coach Frank Solich said. "Toledo is an outstanding football team. They are always prepared and play the whole game. It took us the whole game to put them away. I thought our guys responded well on both sides of the ball."

After forcing a punt with about a minute to play, Toledo (5-2, 3-1 Mid-American Conference) had a chance to rally after trailing the whole game by going 75 yards without any timeouts, but after a 23-yard completion from Logan Woodside to Cody Thompson on the first play, Toledo’s comeback attempt fell apart.

Thompson caught a pass inbounds for 8 yards, leaving the clock to run, and after an incompletion, Woodside was under heavy pressure on third down. He got the ball away to Kareem Hunt, but he was taken down for a loss of 5 yards.

The Rockets rushed to the line of scrimmage and snapped the ball with two seconds left, but they were called for an illegal procedure because not every player was set. The 10-second runoff tied to the penalty ended the game, though it would not have mattered because Woodside had spiked the ball without realizing it was fourth down.

In a game full of big plays, Ohio (6-3, 4-1 MAC) made more of them than Toledo, which was plagued by dropped passes, beginning with the third play from scrimmage when Corey Jones could not hold on to a likely touchdown.

All four of Ohio’s touchdowns were on plays of 25 yards or more, and Browns’ 51-yard touchdown run – initially he was ruled out of bounds at the 3-yard line by officials before being given credit for the score upon review – put the Bobcats up two scores, 31-20, with 8:08 remaining.

The Bobcats failed to take advantage of a chance to put the game away after D.L. Knock forced Jones to fumble on the kick return and it was recovered by Eric Popp at the Toledo 28-yard line. A chop block negated a Papi White run inside the 10-yard line, and instead, Louis Zervos missed badly on a 49-yard field goal attempt that would have put Ohio up an even 14 points.

Getting the ball with six minutes to go, Toledo needed only 2:32 to find the end zone, scoring on a 10-yard Woodside touchdown pass to Jon’Vea Johnson. It appeared the Rockets were successful on a two-point conversion pass, but the receiver was flagged for having stepped out of bounds before catching the ball, keeping Toledo from getting to within a field goal.

Trying to run out the clock, the Bobcats converted one third down on a 9-yard pass form Quinton Maxwell to Sebastian Smith, and that forced Toledo to use up all three of its timeouts before Ohio punted with about a minute remaining.

Woodside became Toledo’s single-season record holder for touchdown passes, throwing for three of them and 438 yards, but the Rockets struggled to get their offense going early. So did the Bobcats in Maxwell’s second career start.

Midway through the first quarter, White’s punt return gave Ohio possession at the Toledo 27-yard line, but Maxwell was sacked, and the Bobcats ended up punting.

Toledo’s third drive ended on a fourth-down drop on fourth-and-4 from the Ohio 30, and the Bobcats had another chance to put points on the board on their next possession after back-to-back runs of 20 yards by Brown and 23 yards by White to the Toledo 17-yard line. Maxwell could not handle the snap on the next play, though, and it resulted in a loss of 31 yards.

Finally, in the second quarter, Ohio scored the first points on Maxwell’s first completion. While rolling to his left, he hooked up with Kyle Belack for a 57-yard touchdown pass. But after the Bobcats could not take advantage of Chad Moore’s interception, Toledo got a 29-yard Jameson Vest field goal, and Maxwell was replaced by Greg Windham.

Windham immediately provided a spark, running for a 24-yard gain and then throwing a 33-yard touchdown pass to Smith to give the Bobcats a 14-3 lead. The Rockets managed a 47-yard Vest field goal as time expired on the first half, making it 14-6.

Once again to start the second half, Ohio had a successful drive stall when Windham was stopped for a loss of 4 yards to the Toledo 36-yard line. And instead of possibly going up three scores, Ohio punted and two plays later gave up a 98-yard touchdown pass from Woodside to Johnson, making it 14-13.

Brown’s fumble inside the Toledo 30 ended another Ohio scoring threat, but Toledo punted on its next possession. Windham was carted off with a leg injury for Ohio, giving Maxwell a second chance after going 2-for-10 passing in the first half. He came through with a 37-yard third-down completion to White and then connected with him for a 25-yard scoring pass to make it 21-13.

Woodside answered for the Rockets with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jones with 3:39 left in the third quarter to make it a one-point game again, and Ohio came back on its next possession with a 39-yard Zervos field goal with 11 seconds left in the third quarter. Brown’s long scoring run followed a Toledo punt.

“I want to give a shoutout to all my O-line, tight ends, everyone on the offense," Brown said. "Eleven guys did great. The blocking was great. My job was easy; the holes were wide open.”

After his poor start, Maxwell completed five of his final six passes and threw for 159 yards and two touchdowns. White had five carries for 54 yards and three catches for 64 yards. Smith made four receptions for 90 yards. Ohio had 12 plays of 20 yards or more and finished with 512 yards of offense.

Both Jones (six catches, 156 yards) and Jones (seven catches, 115 yards) topped the 100-yard mark for Toledo, and Thompson (six catches, 73 yards) also had a big game. But Toledo’s run game was held in check, with Kareem Hunt carrying 15 times for only 50 yards. Terry Swanson had 10 carries for 58 yards.

Quentin Poling made 11 tackles, and Moore had 10 tackles, including one for loss, the interception and two pass breakups. Ohio’s defense that was second in the nation in sacks did not get to Woodside, and the Bobcats’ all-time sack leader Tarell Basham left the game with an injury.

The Bobcats’ last win at Toledo was Sept. 16, 1967, a 20-14 victory for what was the Rockets’ only loss that year.

“It shows the resolve of this team," Maxwell said. "It shows the hard work of this team. I love each one of those guys in the locker room. It was a true team effort. For us to be as good of underdogs as we were, coming in here and getting this win was huge. Everyone in that locker room knew what we were about, knew what we could do.”

Ohio became bowl eligible for the eighth straight year and took over sole possession of first place in the MAC East after Akron (3-2 MAC) suffered a 41-20 setback against Buffalo.

Toledo hosts Buffalo at 6 p.m. Thursday at Peden Stadium.






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