AKRON — Two freshmen running backs were hurt. A third able-bodied rookie stepped up with a breakout day not far from the place where he excelled many times in the past.
North Olmsted native Marc Remy, who began the season behind four others on the depth chart, acquitted himself well Friday, dashing for 103 yards in the University of Toledo’s 31-29 loss at Akron.
Remy took over midway through the third quarter after freshman Kareem Hunt exited with a foot injury, displaying yet another level to Toledo’s appreciable backfield depth.
Remy, a redshirt freshman, ran for 29 yards on Toledo’s final drive and brought the Rockets to within two points with a three-yard touchdown. A Terrance Owens-Justin Olack two-point conversion try failed, bringing a painful end to a 7-5 regular season.
“A lot of credit to Marc,” coach Matt Campbell said. “You work really hard for an opportunity to show what you can do and here we are, 12th week of the season, last football game. It’s great for Marc to come back home, a northeast Ohio kid, and do it here.”
Remy, who totaled more than 2,000 all-purpose yards his senior year at North Olmsted, worked his way into the mix this month due to misfortunes of others. Starter David Fluellen (ankle) and freshman Damion Jones-Moore (concussion) did not suit up. Cassius McDowell is dealing with personal issues and hasn’t been seen in the second half of the season. Campbell said McDowell is practicing and could be available for a bowl game. Hunt entered the day with a shoulder injury only to succumb to foot trouble in the second half, creating an opening for Remy.
Remy first flashed his talents Nov. 2 with a 10 carry, 58-yard showing in a blowout win over Eastern Michigan. He scored his first touchdown on a nine-yard fourth-quarter run. Remy followed with 11 touches and 31 yards against Buffalo.
“I made the most of my opportunity,” he said. “We have a great offensive line. It was really easy to adjust to it after practicing with them this whole season.”
Remy, who practiced at receiver last year, transitioned to the backfield in the offseason “because I felt like it would help the team out.” He drew praise from Campbell in fall camp but so did his competitors in the running back room.
“It’s really nice to have a bunch of running backs who can play,” guard Greg Mancz said. “I never would have thought at the beginning of the season we’d be on our fifth running back. He had a great game and I’m really happy for him.”
Hunt, who matched Remy’s 103 yards, upped his season total to 866. He needs 144 more in a bowl game to join Fluellen as the first UT duo to reach 1,000 yards in the same season.
SHORT YARDS: Making their first career starts were freshman cornerback Jordan Martin and junior safety Jordan Haden. Martin started in place of Cameron Cole, and Haden got the nod over Chaz Whittaker ... Toledo mayor Mike Bell, a former player for the Rockets, worked the radio broadcast as the color analyst alongside play-by-play man Mark Beier. ... Attendance was announced at 12,506, a generous figure considering many sections of the 30,000 seat InfoCision Stadium were blocked off.