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Walton makes his mark for Miami in win over Toledo

Running back's play was one factor in big second half for Hurricanes

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Miami junior running back Mark Walton had himself quite an eventful game in his team’s 52-30 win Saturday against Toledo at Hard Rock Stadium.

Walton was impressive in gaining 204 yards on just 11 carries.

UT coach Jason Candle knew coming into the game Walton was a dangerous threat in the backfield, and the game did little to change his mind.

“My general impression without looking at the statistics is that Mark Walton is [an expletive] good back who is very hard to tackle,” Candle said. “He has finishing speed, he is really good in the hole, and he doesn’t go backward, he goes forward when he gets hit. All are characteristics of a great back.”

Walton began the day with a 44-yard touchdown run on the opening possession, and an 82-yard run on the second possession. What was a huge day could have been bigger, but Walton injured his foot midway through the second quarter and didn’t return until the early in the fourth.

“I didn’t think I was going to come back in the game,” Walton said. “I just got frustrated on the sidelines; I started crying a little bit, and I was trusting the staff to get me back. We tried different types of taping styles. ... I knew I had to get back out there, I didn’t want to let me team down. It was [16] to 10 coming into halftime and being in the locker room, looking at that as one of the leaders of the offense and I’m out. I knew if I can try to go I’m going to go out there and do what I can do for my team and that’s what I did tonight.”

QUARTERBACKS IMPRESS: Candle and Miami coach Mark Richt came away from the game raving about the other team’s quarterback play.

Richt praised UT quarterback Logan Woodside after the senior threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns.

“This guy’s really good,” Richt said. “This quarterback, [Logan] Woodside, he’s really good. You could see his brain going. We‘d do ‘this’ and he’d do ‘that.’ He’d do ‘this’ and we’d do ‘that.’ They were doing a great job of trying to get us to show what we were doing and then calling plays from the sideline. The kid’s very, very smart and very accurate.”

Miami quarterback Malik Rosier impressed Candle with his toughness and leadership abilities that were on display.

“I thought you saw a lot of fight in their quarterback today,” Candle said. “He got punched in the mouth a couple of times, and he got back up and had a hell of a second half and kept fighting. I think that is probably why he is their starter, because that is how you win the job. You go and you play and you fight and you lead your team. I could see that his team really rallied around him. I’m sure he’s a good guy in the locker room, and that’s what you want your quarterback to be.”

MAC SCHEDULE AWAITS: After navigating a tricky non-conference schedule, Toledo will have a bye week before opening the Mid-American Conference portion of the schedule with a home game against Eastern Michigan in two weeks.

Candle said the Rockets will use the off-week to get healthy and get ready for what should be a grueling conference schedule.

“We are a 3-1 team heading into conference play,” Candle said. “We have a lot to play for right now and there is a lot on the table. There are a lot of guys who have put themselves in position to go do this the right now. We have to press on. The rest of the Mid-American Conference, the MAC West, Eastern Michigan, nobody is going to feel sorry for Toledo.”

Contact Brian Buckey at: bbuckey@theblade.com419-724-6110, or on Twitter @BrianBuckey.

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