Five things I think I think after the University of Toledo’s impressive 29-23 upset of nationally-ranked Cincinnati Saturday night at the Glass Bowl:
This has been a struggling unit for several years, it is been sliced up by injuries to some key people, and there will be no quick fix for rookie head coach Matt Campbell and new coordinator Tom Matukewicz. Their task is a marathon, not a sprint.
But UT’s coaches had to be thrilled with the way the Rockets responded after being whip-lashed by a bad EMU offense.
If there was a key moment against Cincy, it was after Campbell surprised everybody in the stadium with an onside kick following a UT touchdown that produced a six-point lead late in the third quarter.
It was a perfect call, perfectly executed except for one problem. Dwight Macon of the Rockets muffed an easy recovery and the Bearcats got the ball at their own 48 yard line.
Defensive end Jayrone Elliott led the charge for UT and the Rockets forced a three-and-out and a Cincinnati punt.
The Bearcats were held to a lone field goal the rest of the way.
His 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown late in the third quarter was his third special teams TD in as many weeks. He has scored on two kickoff returns and one punt return. He also has more than 700 receiving yards.
Reedy is one of those worth-the-price-of-admission guys.
He jumped a route in front of a Cincinnati receiver midway through the first quarter and took an interception untouched 75 yards for a touchdown that gave the Rockets a 10-0 lead.
It was the senior strong safety’s second pick six of the season and his fourth in the last two years.
Fluellen is listed at 6-feet and 215 pounds, but his solid and stocky build makes him look bigger, certainly to opposing defenders.
He dragged six would-be Cincinnati tacklers for a 17-yard gain into Bearcat territory and later took a direct snap and rambled 16 yards down to the UC 2.
The Rockets had to settle for a field goal, but that failure to punch in a touchdown didn’t come back to haunt them.
There were 12 unbeaten teams in the nation entering play Saturday and three of them were Ohio State, Cincinnati and Ohio.
(Insert gratuitous Mid-American Conference plug here: Urban Meyer of the Buckeyes and UC’s Butch Jones both started their head coaching careers at MAC schools.)
OSU produced a stirring rally to beat Purdue in overtime, Ohio was idle, and Cincinnati, ranked No. 21 in the AP poll and 18th in the coaches’ poll, was the only one to take a step back.
The Rockets, meanwhile, saw their winning streak grown to seven while improving to 7-1, and Kent State won Saturday to go to 6-1, making both MAC teams bowl eligible already. Bowling Green, which won its fifth with a shutout of UMass, should join them in the near future, perhaps next Saturday when Eastern Michigan visits the Doyt.
Contact Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6398.