The University of Toledo football team passed the first test of its much anticipated season with flying colors in a 47-13 win over Elon on Thursday night at the Glass Bowl.
“It was a really good first game for us,” UT coach Jason Candle said. “That was a great crowd tonight. It was electric in the Glass Bowl, especially in that “T” end zone. Our guys really feed off of our students. Like any first game across the country, there are lots of things you correct after week one. I truly believe we have a great opportunity to have a lot of growth from week one to week two, and that’s what I would expect from this team.”
UT senior quarterback Logan Woodside was 19-of-31 passing for 314 yards and no touchdowns. Terry Swanson scored two touchdowns for the Rockets on 11 rushes for 36 yards. Shakif Seymour rushed 11 times for 102 yards and a 9-yard TD run, and Art Thompkins had 15 carries for 99 yards.
“It feels good to be back,” Woodside said. “It was a long camp. It was great to be out there at the Glass Bowl, and I thought we had a great crowd out there and I thought we played pretty well.”
IN PICTURES: Toledo 47, Elon 13
Cody Thompson led the Toledo receivers with five catches for 112 yards, all in the first half. Diontae Johnson had four receptions for 102 yards, while Jon’Vea Johnson had four catches for 51 yards.
Toledo limited Elon to 175 total yards and just seven first downs.
“I think we did a pretty good job,” junior defensive end Olasunkanmi Adeniyi said. “We kind of held them to their running game. They didn’t really pass the ball as much. They really tried to run it, and I thought we did a good job against. it.”
After a sluggish first half, Diontae Johnson ignited the Rockets with a 99-yard kickoff return for a TD on the opening play of the second half.
“It felt pretty good,” said Johnson, who missed lat season with a leg injury. “Me sitting out last year was tough, and coming back was exciting. I was just excited to be out there with my brothers and get to see them.”
As for the kickoff return?
“My teammates did a good job blocking, and we executed and I just did my job and took it to the house,” Johnson said.
In the first half, Toledo had 291 yards of offense, but struggled to get touchdowns inside the red zone. Five trips inside the 20-yard line for the Rockets led to one touchdown and four field goals in the first half.
Jameson Vest set his career-high for field goals in a game with four in the first half, and Toledo took a 19-7 lead into the locker room at the half.
The score came on a 1-yard TD run by Swanson after Woodside hit Diontae Johnson on a 69-yard strike.
“I think when we get in the red zone, we have to score touchdowns,” Woodside said. “That’s something where we will evaluate the film tomorrow and get a game plan going into Reno next week.”
Despite missing opportunities in the red zone, Candle said he was glad to see Woodside was not forcing the ball into tight coverage.
“I’m proud of our quarterback because when they are dropping back eight in coverage, there is a real temptation to force the ball in there,” Candle said. “He didn’t do that. We came away with three points. Obviously, you want seven, but the alternative is to force the ball and you can make some bad decisions and cost your team. Like a veteran leader, he did a good job of eating the ball a couple times and throwing it away on a couple others.”
Vest kicked a 28-yard field goal to give Toledo a 3-0 lead with 9:54 left in the first quarter.
Swanson rushed in from 1-yard out after a 69-yard pass from Woodside to Diontae Johnson. Toledo led 10-0 with 8:39 left in the first quarter.
Vest made a 27-yard field goal to cap a seven-play, 30 yard drive, giving UT a 13-0 lead with 3:57 left in the first quarter.
Vest opened the second-quarter scoring with a 32-yard field goal to complete an 11-play, 39-yard drive.
After Toledo’s Desmond Phillips fumbled on a punt return, Elon got on the board on a 9-yard TD scamper from Brelynd Cyphers to cut the Toledo lead to 16-7 with 4:33 left in the first half.
Johnson quickly erased any first-half sluggishness that Toledo might have had, catching the ball at the 1-yard line near the right pylon. He weaved and scampered his way up the right sideline before breaking away.
Swanson had his second touchdown of the night on a 5-yard score on a 3rd-and-goal play as Toledo took a 33-7 lead with 7:23 left in third quarter. That capped a nine-play, 59-yard drive.
Freshman tight end/fullback Reggie Gilliam had a 1-yard TD run to give Toledo a 40-7 lead with 2:05 left in the third.
Malcolm Summers, Jr., scored on a 1-yard run, but Elon missed the extra point, cutting the Toledo lead to 40-13 with 9:47 left.
Seymour rushed for a late touchdown from nine yards out to finish off the scoring. Seymour broke the 100-yard rushing mark in his first game, putting an exclamation point on the game for UT.
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