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Published: Sunday, 10/6/2013 - Updated: 9 months ago

Rockets dismantle Western Michigan in 47-20 home win

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Toledo running back David Fluellen is knocked upside-down by Western Michigan linebacker Kyle Lark. Fluellen finished with 220 yards on 23 carries and scored four touchdowns. Toledo running back David Fluellen is knocked upside-down by Western Michigan linebacker Kyle Lark. Fluellen finished with 220 yards on 23 carries and scored four touchdowns.
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Matt Campbell paced the sideline minutes before halftime, his head staring at the Glass Bowl turf and his lips moving rapidly. To whom the coach was directing his angst was unclear. Maybe at a player, maybe at an assistant, or perhaps at no one in particular.

Forget for a moment Campbell’s team was deep into the process of disassembling an inferior opponent. His defense had just surrendered a long touchdown drive, and his offense couldn’t respond with one of its own.

“It’s not acceptable,” Campbell said after the Rockets put the final touches on a 47-20 shellacking of winless Western Michigan.

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to see more photos from the game

Saturday provided a perfect scenario for Campbell in that it featured few moments of anxiety but yet enough mistakes to keep practice interesting during the upcoming bye week.

Toledo's Terrance Owens unleashes a pass at the Glass Bowl. The senior was 11 of 25 for 149 yards and a touchdown. Toledo's Terrance Owens unleashes a pass at the Glass Bowl. The senior was 11 of 25 for 149 yards and a touchdown.
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The Rockets, who evened their overall record at 3-3 behind four turnovers and a scintillating day from running back David Fluellen, accelerated into the midway point of the season. Time to recharge, regroup, and iron out kinks that if corrected could fuel a rollicking second half.

“I’m really, really, really going to use these next two weeks to attack the details,” said Campbell, whose team won’t play again until an Oct. 19 night game at home against Navy. “As long as we continue to do that I think we have a chance to finish this off the right way.”

Campbell can’t publicly admit it, but the positives his team showed in the wake of last week’s frustrating setback at Ball State came with a disclaimer: Western Michigan, at 0-6, is a poor team bordering on inept. The Rockets led by 13 after the first quarter, by 16 at halftime, and by 40 after a 24-point third-quarter outburst. Most starters were sent to the sideline for the fourth quarter.

The Broncos, who continue to lose ugly under first-year coach P.J. Fleck, turned the ball over on their first three drives after halftime, leading to 10 points for Toledo.

“I told our team after the game I want more, and I kind of challenged them for more,” Campbell said. “I think we took a positive step forward. I still think we can do better.”

Fluellen can’t do much better. The senior workhorse ran for 220 yards and four touchdowns, inflicting all of his damage in the first three quarters. Fluellen, who has four 200-yard performances in his career, including two against Western Michigan, scored on runs of 7, 6, 66, and 2 yards and averaged 9.6 yards per carry. His career-long 66-yard jaunt came on a direct snap on fourth-and-1 on the first series after halftime. He exploded through a seam on the right side of the line, leaving a slew of would-be tacklers in his rearview.

“There’s not a time where you say, man, I wish he would have hit the hole better,” Campbell said. “You just don’t see that.”

Fluellen, who ran for 1,498 yards a year ago, is on pace for about 1,700.

“Our offensive line did a great job,” he said. “Any running back behind them could put up great numbers.”

Toledo sophomore safety Chaz Whittaker catches a deflected Western Michigan pass for an interception. He pulled down two interceptions on the afternoon. Toledo sophomore safety Chaz Whittaker catches a deflected Western Michigan pass for an interception. He pulled down two interceptions on the afternoon.
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Toledo’s rapidly improving defense scored a touchdown for the third week in a row when Trent Voss scooped up a loose ball early in the third quarter and returned it seven yards. Jayrone Elliott dislodged the ball from quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen and recorded his seventh sack of the season.

Van Tubbergen (9 of 19, 104 yards) was intercepted for the 10th time this year when Chaz Whittaker jumped a route on the opening drive of the game. Whittaker recorded another pick in the third quarter, stepping in front of a deep ball thrown by Van Tubbergen back-up Zach Terrell.

“I give all the credit to the turnovers to the line,” Whittaker said. “We’re getting pressure and it’s causing the quarterback to get the ball out of his hand quickly.”

Ross Madison also recovered a fumble in Western Michigan’s deluge of third-quarter turnovers.

The Broncos managed just 2.2 yards per carry and converted only 5 of 16 third downs. They didn’t cross midfield until their final drive before halftime when Van Tubbergen directed a 10-play scoring drive capped by a 16-yard hook up on third down with uncovered tight end Eric Boyden.

Campbell wasn’t happy, but his team still led big, 23-7, and his offense had a chance to respond. Three straight incomplete passes by Terrance Owens (11 of 25, 149 yards, one touchdown) killed a drive in WMU territory and drew Campbell’s ire.

“Those are all detail things,” Campbell said. “If we want to get where we want to go, we need to execute those detail things.”

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



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