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UT shows big-play ability in win over Ball State

Rockets had four touchdowns of 60-plus yards

Against Ball State on Thursday night, the offensive numbers were eye-popping for the University of Toledo football team in its 58-17 victory.

It wasn’t just the total numbers, but also the staggering amount of big plays by the Rockets. Toledo ended up with 602 yards of offense and scored four touchdowns of 60-plus yards. Senior quarterback Logan Woodside needed just eight completions to tally 267 yards and three touchdowns.

Sophomore receiver Diontae Johnson had four receptions for 170 yards and touchdowns of 67 and 88 yards, and he returned a punt 87 yards for a score.

Senior running back Terry Swanson rushed for 105 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown.

Redshirt freshman running back Shakif Seymour added touchdown runs of 1 and 63 yards, and redshirt freshman Nevone McCrimmon broke a 73-yard run during which he stepped out of bounds at the 2-yard line.

“We have fast guys that can make good coaches out of people,” UT coach Jason Candle said. “They can score the ball a lot of different ways and from wherever they touch it on the field. When you have a senior quarterback that is a fifth-year guy, that is really comfortable in the offense, and really knows the scheme, he has the ability to help guys be in position to be successful and make those plays. Once you get it in your hands, it’s about what you can do with it. I’d love to say I taught them all that, but that is just raw, natural ability.”

RELATED: Ball State coach impressed with Woodside’s performance

In the third quarter alone, Toledo ran seven offensive plays for 279 yards and scored four touchdowns. A coach will never complain about quick, long touchdowns, but the only drawback for Candle was that he would have liked to have seen his offense get more snaps.

“I felt like we never really got into a rhythm in the first half,” Candle said. “It was probably because we didn’t have very many plays. To compound my frustration in the third quarter, we scored quickly. You work really hard all week, and you want to have those opportunities to snap the ball and score a bunch of points too.

“But it’s fun to see when guys are doing what they are coached to do, and doing it really fast, and playing at a really high level. Because that is what they work all year long for, is to be in this position. It’s good to see guys doing well.”

With the score 24-10 going into halftime, Woodside said his team wasn’t pleased with the first-half performance. Toledo fixed that quickly as the floodgates opened when Johnson tipped a pass to himself at mid-field and raced all the way to the end zone for an 88-yard score.

“We had some good play calls to start the third quarter, and we executed,” Woodside said. “In the first half, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot. In the second half, we really got rolling.”

Half of Woodside’s eight completions went to Johnson.

“Diontae has made plays for us all year, and he is going to have to continue to make big plays for us down the stretch,” Woodside said.

Johnson’s big night sparked Toledo in the second and third quarters, and the Rockets never looked back.

“He made a couple great plays on 50-50 balls that were competitive catches,” Candle said. “That’s good to see. His quarterback trusted him and was putting it out there for him. We have to win our one-on-one battles no matter who we are playing, and he was able to do that tonight.”

Contact Brian Buckey at: bbuckey@theblade.com419-724-6110, or on Twitter @BrianBuckey.

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