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HomeSportsUT
Published: Saturday, 11/5/2005

UT cooked up hitch-and-go

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Toledo's Chris 
Hopkins (91) had clear sailing with the football until Ohio's Matt Muncy (50) avoided the block of the Rockets' Steve Odom (80) and made this tackle near the sidelines. Toledo's Chris Hopkins (91) had clear sailing with the football until Ohio's Matt Muncy (50) avoided the block of the Rockets' Steve Odom (80) and made this tackle near the sidelines.
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ATHENS, Ohio - Practice made perfect for the University of Toledo's football team, which beat Ohio University 30-21 last night at Peden Stadium.

The Rockets worked all week on a hitch-and-go pass play to exploit Ohio's cornerback biting on a short route, which would allow a wide receiver to sprint past him and get behind coverage.

It worked to perfection late in the first half and led to a field goal that gave the Rockets a 20-14 lead at halftime.

Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski faked the short pass and then threw over the top to Steve Odom for a 34-yard gain to the OU 12.

The play might have gone for a touchdown if not for OU's safety making a quick adjustment and rushing toward the sideline to make the tackle.

That reception gave Odom eight catches for 102 yards at halftime, which was 28 yards better than his highest previous single-game total this season. He finished with just one more catch on the night for a total of 107 yards.

SECOND TIME: Gradkowski notched exactly 200 passing yards in the first half, marking the second time this season he had reached that total in a first half.

UT's senior quarterback had 277 yards passing at halftime of a game against Western Michigan on Sept. 10.

STILL PERFECT: Toledo placekicker Jason Robbins made three field goals last night and is 10-for-10 on the season. The Rockets have never had a kicker go through a season without a miss.

Robbins, a Southview High School product, currently ranks first in school history with an .814 field goal percentage. The senior has converted on 35 of 43 attempts, with the 43 tries placing him fifth on the school's all-time list.

MORRIS HURT: The Rockets lost starting cornerback Nigel Morris to a left-shoulder injury suffered while the sophomore was playing on special teams with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter.

Morris took a hit while sprinting toward the Ohio ballcarrier on a kickoff return.

Morris had an interception and two pass break-ups and had recovered two fumbles this season for UT.

THREE-DOT DATA: Toledo's Gradkowski recently became just the eighth MAC quarterback to surpass the 8,000-yard passing mark. He has 8,461 yards Sophomore wide receiver David Washington made his first collegiate start for UT and caught a pass from Gradkowski on the first play of the game for a 27-yard gain The Rockets have won 10 straight against Ohio, including five in a row at Peden Stadium Toledo (7-2, 5-1 in MAC) has clinched a 12th consecutive winning season. Since going 4-7 in 1993, the Rockets have reeled off a mark of 99-39-2 Ohio entered last night's game at 4-4, marking the first time since 2000 that the Bobcats had managed a .500 record eight games into the season Toledo's defense surrendered two touchdowns and a season-high 14 points in the first quarter. Entering the game, the defense had allowed just one offensive touchdown in eight games A counter draw that went for 27 yards midway through the third quarter sent OU running back Kalvin McRae over the 1,000-yard mark on the season. He also posted a fourth straight 100-yard game, becoming the first Bobcat to do that in seven seasons.



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