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HomeSportsUT
Published: Wednesday, 11/23/2005

In the end, Rockets' defense stands tall

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Toledo s Brett Kern (41) has his fi rst-quarter punt blocked by Bowling Green s Teddy Piepkow
(behind Kern) as BGSU s Terrill Mayberry also dives.
Toledo s Brett Kern (41) has his fi rst-quarter punt blocked by Bowling Green s Teddy Piepkow (behind Kern) as BGSU s Terrill Mayberry also dives.
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BOWLING GREEN - The teams combined for 1,077 yards and 85 points and that's about what you'd expect from the high-powered offenses for which Toledo and Bowling Green are known.

In the end, though, the Rockets' defense, which entered the game ranked No. 1 among Mid-American Conference teams in both total defense and scoring defense, could hold its head high.

After a monstrous shootout during the second half and in the first overtime session, it came down to defensive plays by both teams in third-down situations during the second overtime.

Toledo made the play and Bowling Green didn't and the final score was 44-41, Rockets, before 17,438 fans on a raw night at Doyt Perry Stadium.

The University of Toledo Rockets are flying high on the field after defeating Mid-American Conference rivals the Falcons in Doyt Perry Stadium at Bowling Green State University. The University of Toledo Rockets are flying high on the field after defeating Mid-American Conference rivals the Falcons in Doyt Perry Stadium at Bowling Green State University.
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"It's all we talk about," said UT inside linebacker Anthony Jordan. "You put yourself in position to win on the last play of the game.

"It's not how many yards, it's not what the statistics sheets say. It's the scoreboard. It's getting to the last play and having to make a play to win for your team.

"We held them to a field goal and it was a great, great feeling."

Tied at 38-38 after both teams had scored touchdowns in the first overtime - that made it 62 points, combined, scored after halftime - BG was facing a third-and-six at the Toledo 21.

Omar Jacobs threw over the middle to Charles Sharon on a drag route, but UT had it defended perfectly with David Thomas and Tyrrell Herbert combining and holding Sharon to a one-yard gain.

That forced BG to attempt a field goal, and Joe Timchenko came through from 37 yards.

UT got its chance and the Rockets were third-and-seven at the BG 22 when Bruce Gradkowski covered the distance with a throw to wide open tight end Chris Hopkins in the left corner of the end zone for the victory.

Herbert, the starting free safety, had a huge night for the UT defense with a team-high 12 tackles. Outside linebacker Mike Chamberlain added 10 while the inside duo of Jordan and Thomas produced nine and seven stops, respectively.

CAREER NIGHT: UT's Trinity Dawson, who hit the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the first time in his career last week in a loss to Northern Illinois, added 170 yards to his total against BG. That was a new career high for single-game yardage and he did it on 28 carries and produced two touchdowns.

It marked the sixth time this season and the 14th time in the senior's career that Dawson reached triple figures. He now has 3,350 career rushing yards.

CAREER LONG: Toledo kicker Jason Robbins, now 12-for-12 this season on field-

goal attempts, bettered his previous long by four yards with a 44-yarder, giving UT a 10-7 lead early in the third quarter.

SERIES STUFF: Toledo's victory last night was the first for a visiting team in the BG-UT series since 1997, when Toledo won 35-30 at the Doyt. Although this was an overtime game, the first in the series, the Rockets' 44 points represented their highest point total in a game played at BG.

3-0 IN OT: Toledo played an overtime game for just the third time. It was the first since 1996 when the Rockets beat Western Michigan 10-7 at the Glass Bowl.

Few UT fans will forget the other OT game. It was the first in NCAA Division I-A history and came in the 1995 Las Vegas Bowl, where Wasean Tait's touchdown run gave the Rockets a 40-37 victory over Nevada.



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