Toledo running back David Fluellen, 22, celebrates with teammate Zac Rosenbauer after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter. He added a second score in the second half to secure the victory.
University of Toledo center Zac Kerin approached his teammate David Fluellen before the start of the second half with a simple request.
Kerin had detected a tendency on the post-snap movement of Bowling Green's defensive line that he deemed exploitable, and pulling off this heist would be a two-man job.
What transpired next encapsulated the narrative of Toledo's young season and its 27-15 triumph Saturday before a sold out Glass Bowl. Continuing a theme that has infiltrated the program, neither Kerin nor Fluellen would accept credit for Fluellen's 22-yard stroll into the end zone that expanded the lead to 24-3 early in the third quarter.
Fluellen, who scored twice and amassed 134 yards of total offense, divulged their plan in the wake of Toledo's third straight win in the rivalry — more or less, he was to follow Kerin to freedom — before shunning the limelight.
"He saw something, and I trusted him," Fluellen said.
Kerin, who toils in obscurity despite being one of the premier linemen in the Mid-American Conference, refused praise.
"Credit goes to Flu for that," he said.
People at Toledo and other athletic departments are tasked with advising athletes of things to say to the media and things to avoid, but the benevolence emitted by the Rockets seems sincere. Not enough things have gone poorly in three games to foretell how this team will respond to turbulence. As for handling success, all sails are pointed in the same direction.
Cornerback Cheatham Norrils, following the best performance of his career, praised his coaches for putting him in positions to make plays, such as on his interception of a slant pass that set up a first-half touchdown. Coach Matt Campbell, whose team will move to 3-1 this week if it can beat a decent Football Championship Subdivision member in Coastal Carolina, commended his assistants for a good day at the office. Fluellen, a junior, dismissed a questioner suggesting he had put the team on his back, insisting "this win means a lot to me, but more for the seniors."
The tone-setters for the ego free zone at Toledo are the two guys who have had to exude humility since they arrived on campus in the same year — the quarterbacks. Terrance Owens, whose passing numbers the last seven games scream of consistency — 71 completion percentage, 1,807 yards, 18 touchdowns, one interception — sort of contradicted his string of success when he said his inside track to winning the job permanently is to be consistent. He wouldn't bite when asked if he thinks he should continue to be the full-time guy.
Campbell's voice intensified when he spoke of his other quarterback, calling Austin Dantin's work on special teams "the underlying story line of the game." Dantin, who has relinquished his share of the job, has maintained an involvement by playing with the punt coverage unit.
"I think it says everything about Austin Dantin, the unselfishness of him," Campbell said.
Give Dantin credit. Just don't be alarmed if he refuses it.
Contact Ryan Autullo at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6160 or on Twitter @AutulloBlade.
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