Back from Ball State
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The University of Toledo’s football team opened up Mid-American Conference play with a 24-10 road win Saturday against Ball State.
With this victory, the Rockets (4-0, 1-0 MAC) move into the AP Top 25 at No. 24.
“Our goals and aspirations are better than how we played at times,” said UT Head Coach Matt Campbell. “You leave here wanting a lot more in what you got in terms of execution and detail but to win the football game is goal.
“We still have a lot of work to do.”
UT controlled the line of scrimmage once again as the Rockets’ offensive line has yet to give up a sack in 140 passing attempts.
Toledo’s offense was led by sophomore Terry Swanson, who rushed for a season-high 139 yards on 24 carriers; it won him MAC west division offensive player of the week.
Junior tailback Damion Jones-Moore added 86 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.
UT would finish the night with 285 rushing yards and 444 yards of total offense.
Senior quarterback Philip Ely was 16 of 22 passing for 164 yards.
His first two passes of the game were picked off, but he would settle into the game completing his next ten passes and finishing the game with two touchdown passes.
The defense continued to be a force to be reckoned with, holding the Cardinals to 26 total rushing yards and only 262 yards of total offense. In the last two games, the Rockets’ ‘D’ has allowed just 12 yards on 54 attempts.
Ball State’s freshman Riley Neal completed 23-of-37 passes for 236-yards and a late touchdown.
Neal was chased around all night by the Rockets’ front seven, which came up with two sacks. Senior Trent Voss wreaked havoc all night with seven tackles and three tackles for a loss for a total of 16 yards.
“This is a very veteran defense,” Campbell said. “These are now kids that have been in our program for three or four years now. Schematically, we haven’t changed over the course of time. I think we’re really starting to settle in and feel comfortable.”
UT ranks No. 1 in the MAC in scoring defense, allowing 13.0 points per game.
After a turnover-plagued first quarter, Toledo would get the scoring started early in the second quarter with a 12-play, 69-yard drive capped off with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Ely to junior Michael Roberts.
“I thought there were points in that first quarter where we really could’ve got rattled,” Campbell said. “But our kids stayed the course and really made some plays when we needed to on both sides of the ball.”
On UT’s ensuing possession, the Rockets would march down the field once again on an 8-play, 68-yard drive to take a 14-0 lead with 7:36 left in the second quarter. Jones-Moore rushed for a 5-yard touchdown after making a pair of Cardinal defenders miss.
Toledo was not done scoring in the second quarter, converting a 31-yard field goal by freshman Jameson Vest and a 38-yard touchdown pass from Ely to senior Alonzo Russell.
The Rockets played perfectly in the second quarter, scoring on all four possessions. Ball State didn’t give up easily on their homecoming night.
With just 56 seconds remaining in the first half, the Cardinals drove 61 yards in 7 plays to get three points before the half on a 29-yard field goal from BSU kicker Morgan Hagee. Toledo took a commanding 24-3 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Rocket’s offense fell behind and failed to come up with more points.
Ball State would score on a 51-yard bomb from Neal to wideout Jord Williams for a touchdown to bring the score to 24-10. The ensuing possession for the Cardinals meant they had an 11-play drive that stalled out at the 19-yard line after having a second and goal from the four-yard line.
BSU would attempt a 35-yard field goal but Hagee shanked it wide-right.
Toledo would not give the Cardinals another chance to score, running out the clock and taking their first MAC win of the season.
The Rockets will continue their drive for a MAC championship when they host Kent State on Saturday in front of a Homecoming crowd.
The game will kickoff at 3 p.m. and will be streaming live on watchESPN.com.