Toledo's Bernard Reedy tied his early mistakes to the Rockets wearing pink.
The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
Bernard Reedy offered an explanation for his woeful start to Saturday's game that might be the first in the history of college football.
The University of Toledo junior receiver was having a horrible time, fumbling twice after a catch, another on a punt return, and failing to secure a would-be touchdown pass.
The problem? Too much pink. To honor Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Rockets adorned pink sweat bands and their helmet stickers were emblazoned in that same color.
Pink is Reedy's second favorite color — blue, of course, is No. 1 — but he bemoaned its impact on his eyes early in Toledo's 50-35 win over Central Michigan.
"I was just caught up trying to look too smooth," Reedy said, with no hint of sarcasm. "I was trying to take advantage of my pink."
Once he shed his pink mouth guard and pink medical tape, and exchanged gloves, Reedy was able to beat the Chippewas blue. Befitted in his traditional gear, he turned a third-quarter punt return into a 66-yard touchdown, zigging and zagging to midfield before coasting the final 20 yards.
In a schizophrenic performance, he offset his early miscues by establishing a career-high 10 catches for 92 yards and accounting for 293 all-purpose yards, fourth most in program history. Before the outfit change, when he lost two fumbles on Toledo's side of the field, and retained control of another one, "my head just wasn't in the game."
Reedy shouldered blame for a missed connection in the first quarter on a bomb from Terrance Owens at midfield. Owens rifled the ball a tad too far, otherwise it would have been a 79-yard touchdown, but Reedy would hear none of that.
"I should have caught it, I should have dove out," he said.
Toledo coach Matt Campbell, who said he never considered replacing Reedy as punt returner, was paid off for his firmness by the touchdown return. Another long return, of 53 yards, set up a field goal on Toledo's first drive.
Reedy has muffed three kickoff or punt returns this year, retaining possession on each.
"Things happen and mistakes happen, but I really believe in sticking with guys who have great confidence in themselves," Campbell said.
SHORT YARDS: All three of UT's league wins have come by double digits. ... Campbell confirmed that defensive end Christian Smith is out for the season after suffering a knee injury last week. With three defensive line starters out with injuries, ends Ben Pike and Jayrone Elliott stepped up with a sack a piece. Elliott has recorded a sack in three straight games. ... Tight end Colby Kratch saw time at defensive end, as did true freshman Allen Covington, making his debut. ... Robert Bell led the Rockets with 12 tackles.