Injury derails Owens, puts true freshman at QB for Rockets

UT quarterback carted off field

Toledo's Jayrone Elliott, left, offers Terrance Owens support after the quarterback's injury in the first quarter. Owens threw two touchdown passes.
Toledo's Jayrone Elliott, left, offers Terrance Owens support after the quarterback's injury in the first quarter. Owens threw two touchdown passes.

Terrance Owens appeared to be snapping out of his slump. Then his knee snapped.

Owens left on an ATV early Saturday and did not return, a troubling sight that put into proper context the struggles he faced the last two weeks.

Owens, regarded as one of the tougher players for the University of Toledo, did not get up after a first quarter run. Officials motioned immediately for medical trainers to rush to midfield. Coach Matt Campbell soon joined. An injured left knee was the early prognosis, and Owens was declared out for the game.

Owens until his misfortune was clicking, something that eluded he and the offense throughout Toledo’s 0-2 start. He authored touchdown drives of 57 and 75 yards, each ending in a David Fluellen run. Those TDs matched Toledo’s season total entering the day. Owens attempted only two passes but completed both. His lone rush netted seven yards but also an injury that if serious could hinder Toledo’s hopes of unseating Northern Illinois in the Mid-American Conference West division.

Owens came out for the second half on crutches.

He was replaced by Logan Woodside, a true freshman who led the Rockets to a field goal on the same drive to go up 16-14.

Woodside, a 2012 first-team all state selection in Kentucky, is UT’s best available option at the position. He enrolled in January and was presumed to be the replacement if something happened to Owens. Woodside showed glimpses of promise in the spring game but also threw a late interception to secure defeat. The game plan Saturday with him under center was simplistic. Deep routes were shelved in favor of read options and passes in the flat.

Woodside finished the first half 5 of 11 passing for 13 yards. He ran three times for 15 yards.

Should Owens miss time, the coaching staff may also take a look at true freshman Michael Julian. Julian, of South Carolina, has a big arm but is only weeks into his college career. Unlike Woodside, he did not enroll early and did not participate in spring ball. The plan was to redshirt him.

Another quarterback, Phillip Ely, is not eligible. The Alabama transfer must sit out this season.

DETMER STREAK: Jeremiah Detmer tied Toledo’s record for consecutive field goals but couldn’t snare the title outright. Detmer’s 23-yarder in the second quarter tied Alex Steigerwald’s mark of 23 in a row. Detmer, who had not missed in almost a calendar year, pushed a 35-yard attempt to the left to end the first half, ending his historic run.

The NCAA record for consecutive makes is 30.

NEW LOOK: What color was that? The Rockets wore pants and tops that were either dark, dark blue or black. It was the first they had worn the combination. Their yellow helmets — a recurring look — were matched by yellow shoes.

BUSH STARTS: Rogers graduate Ray Bush logged his first career start, replacing Chase Murdock at middle linebacker.

It was not immediately known why Murdock did not play. He was dressed and on the sideline and spent much of the first half standing next to Jaylen Coleman, whom Murdock battled for the starting spot before Coleman suffered a knee injury early in fall camp.

Bush, a junior, recovered an onside kick in the first quarter and rarely left the field on defensive plays. The former City League defensive player of the year is playing extensively for the first time in his career.