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Published: Wednesday, 11/21/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Dantin throws 5 TD passes, Pasquale rumbles in Toledo's win over Akron

Mak­ing his first start since the sea­son opener at Ari­zona, Austin Dantin threw for five touch­downs Mak­ing his first start since the sea­son opener at Ari­zona, Austin Dantin threw for five touch­downs

Coach Matt Camp­bell has main­tained all sea­son that back up quar­ter­back Austin Dantin would help the Univer­sity of Toledo win a foot­ball game. As each week passed it was get­ting harder and harder to take his mes­sage se­ri­ously.

Well, Camp­bell was onto some­thing. Dantin, who has been bound to the side­line for all but a hand­ful of snaps in a se­nior sea­son that has tested his will, was bril­liant in his fi­nal reg­u­lar sea­son game, con­jur­ing mem­o­ries of the great mo­ments in a solid ca­reer that came full cir­cle in front of 14,589 fans at the Glass Bowl.

PHOTO GALLERY: Toledo vs. Akron

Mak­ing his first start since the sea­son opener at Ari­zona, Dantin threw for five touch­downs Tues­day in a 35-23 win against Akron that likely se­cured a third straight bowl game for the Rock­ets (9-3, 6-2 Mid-Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence).

Dantin, who got the nod on se­nior night af­ter Ter­rance Owens’ lin­ger­ing an­kle in­jury forced him into street clothes, sealed the win in the fourth quar­ter with short touch­down passes to Alex Zmo­lik and Justin Olack. Dantin, mak­ing his 24th ca­reer start, com­pleted 29 of 35 passes for a ca­reer-high 327 yards.

"Some­one asked me a cou­ple of weeks ago, ‘Coach, when’s he go­ing to play?" Camp­bell said. "Well, he played, and he played darn well, and I couldn’t be prouder of him."

A touch­ing mo­ment fol­lowed his three-yard TD pass to Olack, as Dantin walked off the field with 8 min­utes, 19 sec­onds re­main­ing and wrapped his arms around Camp­bell, the first-year coach who benched him af­ter Dantin strug­gled in week one at Ari­zona.

Camp­bell in­di­cated last week that Owens, who ripped the job from Dantin with a stel­lar per­for­mance against Wy­o­ming, might not be able to go.

"This was def­i­nitely a spe­cial night," said Dantin, who matched his ca­reer-high in touch­down passes. "This will be some­thing I re­mem­ber for­ever. Last game in the Glass Bowl and to go out like this was a per­fect end­ing to it."

Dantin recorded his first touch­down pass in more than a cal­en­dar year when he found Alonzo Rus­sell in the end zone for a 23-yard strike early in the sec­ond quar­ter. Dantin, who added two more TD passes in the half — one to Rus­sell and an­other to David Pasquale — had not thrown a touch­down pass since Nov. 1, 2011, when he tossed five of them in a loss to North­ern Il­li­nois.

The two-year starter from Tal­la­has­see, Fla., was 18 for 23 in the half, to­tal­ing 248 pass­ing yards and turn­ing an early 10-0 def­i­cit into a 21-17 lead at half­time.

It was al­most as if he and Pasquale, a se­nior who played in place of in­jured run­ning back starter David Fluel­len, de­vised a plan to have a lit­tle fun in their fi­nal reg­u­lar sea­son game. Pasquale, who had one catch en­ter­ing the night, was a wreck­ing ball in the first half, rum­bling 96 yards on five catches. He ex­tended a short route across the mid­dle into a 55-yard touch­down, sprint­ing di­ag­o­nally and win­ning a foot race to the py­lon against free safety Johnny Robin­son.

Toledo running back David Pasquale carried the ball 15 times for 94 yards and added another 110 yards on seven catches. Toledo running back David Pasquale carried the ball 15 times for 94 yards and added another 110 yards on seven catches.

Pasquale car­ried the ball 15 times for 94 yards and added an­other 110 yards on seven catches.

"For him to have the night that he had I couldn’t be hap­pier for him," Dantin said of Pasquale.

Rus­sell, who caught just three passes in the pre­vi­ous two games, played one of his fin­est games in a pro­di­gious fresh­man sea­son. He blew past cor­ner­back Bryce Cheek on a go route late in the first half, and Dantin lofted him the ball for a 39-yard scor­ing con­nec­tion. Rus­sell needed 214 yards head­ing into the game to reach 1,000.

Dantin’s mem­o­ra­ble night did not come with­out tra­vails. His throw­ing arm was smashed in the third quar­ter, and his wob­bly pass fell into the arms of line­backer Kurt Man­gum end­ing a drive in which Toledo ad­vanced to Akron’s 23. Dantin, who was slow to get up, re­turned to be­gin the next drive.

That turn­over, Toledo’s only one of the game, fol­lowed a 17-play drive by Akron that yielded zero points. The Zips, who couldn’t con­vert on two chances from Toledo’s 2 be­fore be­ing pe­nal­ized for in­ten­tional ground­ing, lined up for a 33-yard field goal but switched out of the for­ma­tion, leav­ing punter Zach Paul to play quar­ter­back. Di­sas­ter en­sued for the Zips, as Trent Voss dropped Paul be­fore the play could un­fold.

Akron, which posted its third straight one-win sea­son, also shook things up at quar­ter­back. Se­nior Dal­ton Wil­liams, who leads the MAC with more than 300 pass­ing yards per game, was pulled af­ter two se­ries in fa­vor of fresh­man Kyle Pohl. The im­pli­ca­tion, it seemed, is coach Terry Bow­den wanted to get a glimpse into his fu­ture. Pohl gave rea­son for op­ti­mism, im­me­di­ately au­thor­ing a 14 play, 81-yard drive that ended in Jawon Chish­olm’s 4-yard TD run.

Pohl com­pleted 6 of 8 passes on the se­ries for 55 yards and got loose with his legs to con­vert on third-and-9.

Pohl, of Farm­ers­ville, Ohio near Day­ton, threw for three TDs, in­clud­ing one with 3:30 to go that cut the def­i­cit to 35-23.

Con­tact Ryan Au­tullo at rau­tullo@the­blade.com, 419-724-6160 or on Twit­ter @Au­tul­loBlade.


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