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Ranked teams should avoid the Glass Bowl.
The University of Toledo beat another one Saturday, knocking off No. 21 Cincinnati 29-23 in front of a raucous crowd of 24,124 that saw the Rockets move to 5-1 at home against teams ranked in the top 25 of a recognized poll.
An upset? Perhaps, but only mildly.
The Rockets, who move to 7-1 and are on the verge of being ranked, were not perfect and yet still outplayed the previously unbeaten Bearcats. In winning its seventh straight, Toledo scored touchdowns on special teams and defense but never on offense to snap Cincinnati’s win streak at eight. Jordan Haden’s interception with 12 seconds to go at Toledo’s 32 cemented the finest win of coach Matt Campbell’s eight thus far.
Toledo is 7-11 overall against ranked teams. It improved its mark to 7-3 when a BCS member visits the Glass Bowl, a string that began with the BCS’ inception in 1998.
"The only one that's going to top this one, at this point, is a MAC championship win at the end of the season," said linebacker Dan Molls, who led Toledo with 13 tackles. "We still have a long road and a lot of games to go through to get there."
Other home wins against ranked teams were in 2003 against No. 9 Pittsburgh, in 2001 against No. 18 Marshall, in 2003 against No. 21 Northern Illinois, and twice in 2004 against No. 22 Northern Illinois, and No. 24 Bowling Green. The only loss at home versus a ranked team came in 2011 to Boise State.
In Saturday’s win, Jeremiah Detmer kicked five field goals, including his two longest of the year — 43 and 47 yards. Detmer, who is 18 of 23 and is perfect on extra points, has converted his last 11 field goal attempts. His statistics from Saturday can be viewed from different spectrums — good because the Rockets have a reliable kicker, and bad because they used him so often to kick field goals rather than extra points.
"Boy, I thought offensively we played really well from the 20 to the 20 and we got down to the red zone and fortunately or unfortunately had to kick field goals," Campbell said.
Detmer was good from 43, 42, 47, 20, and 25 yards. The last of them came with 42 seconds to go after the Rockets were unable to score on three running plays after reaching the 3 yard line. The 20-yarder, which came with 8:58 to go in the third, was the result of Toledo’s failure to punch it in three times after reaching the 2. A touchdown and an extra point would have put the Rockets ahead by 10.
A 44-yard run by David Fluellen, who ran for 161 yards for his fourth straight 100-yard game, set up the 47-yarder midway through the second quarter.
Cincinnati’s Tony Miliano matched Detmer booting field goals from 40 and 37 yards, and a 41-yarder that cut the deficit to 26-23 with 11:30 left in the game.
Two-time reigning West division special teams player of the week Bernard Reedy returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown with 1:55 left in the third quarter. It was the second week in a row Reedy returned a kickoff for a score and the third straight week in which he scored a special teams TD.
A flag was thrown that would have nullified the score but the official who threw it retrieved it, saying no foul occurred. The Rockets attempted an onside kick, and would have recovered it had Dwight Macon been able to corral the ball. Instead he slid over it.
The Bearcats went ahead 20-19 before Reedy’s touchdown when Damon Julian hauled in a 25-yard pass in the end zone. Defensive backs Byron Best and Jermaine Robinson, standing in the end zone, were passive in their effort to attack the ball.
The Rockets scored the first 13 points, with a pair of field goals sandwiching an interception for a touchdown by Robinson, who was the beneficiary of a Munchie Legaux errant pass. He returned the ball 75 yards and tied the Toledo career record with his fourth pick-six.
"We've been preparing for that offense since January," Robinson said.
Legaux scored the only other TD of the first half, plunging ahead two yards after Ralph Abernathy broke free for 52 yards. The Bearcats turned a Cassius McDowell fumble into three points with 9:13 to go in the half.
Contact Ryan Autullo at:firstname.lastname@example.org oronTwitter @AutulloBlade.