"Toledo Keeps on Rollin', But Drops From AP Rankings"

The Rockets' Shootout Win Highlights This Week's ÔAround the MAC'




Toledo 48, Ohio 41

With star running back Chester Taylor out of the game, quarterback Tavares Bolden stepped up when his team needed it the most. Tavares led the Toledo Rockets to their fifth straight victory by defeating the Ohio Bobcats this weekend after an ankle injury forced Taylor from the game early in the second half.

Facing the prospect of an 0-4 start, the Bobcats were determined not to let the 23rd-ranked Rockets (Associated Press) dominate the game. Running back Joe Sherril pounded his way into the end zone early in the fourth quarter to give Ohio a 41-34 lead and cap off a run of 24 unanswered points for the Bobcats.

Backup running back Antwon McCray finished off two wonderfully directed scoring drives with touchdown runs of 11 yards and 1 yard to put the Rockets back on top for good.

Bolden got Toledo out to a commanding 31-14 first-half lead by connecting with tight end Chris Holmes and wide receiver Carl Ford for scores of 5 and 43 yards, respectively. Ford finished with eight receptions for 117 yards and one touchdown, while Bolden ended up 31 for 39 passing for 387 yards and two touchdowns.

The undefeated Rockets have a bye this week. It comes at a perfect time for Taylor, who will have two weeks to rest before facing Ball State Oct. 20.

Toledo maintained their number 23 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll but, despite the win, fell out of the AP poll.

Connecticut 19, Eastern Michigan 0

The Connecticut Huskies' defense forced four turnovers and allowed only 191 yards of total offense en route to shutting out Eastern Michigan for their first home win.

The Huskies jumped out to an early 10-0 lead when quarterback Dan Orlovsky hit tight end Rashad Drayton for an 11-yard touchdown late in the first quarter. Connecticut's defense continued to play shutdown football for the remainder of the first half.

Just before heading to the locker rooms for halftime, Orlovsky plunged into the end zone from one yard out to give the Huskies a 16-0 lead.

The Eastern Michigan defense was also admirable; both teams forced the other to punt on eight occasions during the contest. Each team was also heavily penalized. Eastern Michigan was flagged nine times for 64 yards, while Connecticut committed nine fouls for 75 yards.

Bowling Green 24, Kent State 7

A pair of Bowling Green quarterbacks combined to score all three of the Falcons' touchdowns as they rebounded from their first loss of the season to score a victory over the Kent State Golden Flashes.

The Falcons were in charge from the beginning, when starting quarterback Andy Sahm hit Shaun Sulsham with a five-yard scoring pass with 3:42 left to play in the first quarter. Sahm was relieved by Josh Harris midway through the second, after going 21 of 34 passing for 173 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Harris then rode the legs of a determined Bowling Green backfield, led by John Gibson, that gained over 200 yards rushing on the day. Johnson gained 85 yards on 22 carries.

The Golden Flashes were able to cut the Falcons' lead to 10 at the half, after Joshua Cribbs found Matt Curry for a nine-yard touchdown pass with just 40 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Harris, however, capped off the scoring by hitting Kurt Gerling from five yards out to put the game out of reach late in the third quarter. Listed as the Falcons' backup quarterback, Harris finished the game 6-for-8 passing for 41 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and also had 13 carries for 73 yards and one touchdown.

Marshall 37, Northern Illinois 15

Quarterback Byron Leftwich's three touchdown passes were all the Marshall Thundering Herd needed to lift them over Northern Illinois this past weekend and extend their winning streak to three games.

The Herd took an early lead on a five-yard touchdown pass from Leftwich to Darius Watts halfway through the first quarter and never looked back. Running back Franklin Wallace personified the movement by pacing the Marshall offense with 109 rushing yards on 23 carries.

It wasn't all offense for Marshall, however. Orlando Washington recovered an NIU fumble at his opponent's 25-yard line and took it back all the way to put Marshall up by 14 in the first quarter.

Northern Illinois running back Thomas Hammock tried to make things interesting by scoring from four yards out to bring his team within a touchdown. Unfortunately for NIU, the game's next 23 points came unanswered from the Thundering Herd.

Leftwich hit Denero Marriott for a 31-yard score early in the third quarter to put the Herd up by 17, before Michael Owens intercepted a pass from Northern's Chris Finlen and returned it 25 yards for the score that nailed the coffin shut on NIU.

Leftwich finished with a modest 184 yards and the three scores with one interception. Finlen, his counterpart, was a disastrous 9 of 20 passing for 94 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Finlen also had 14 rushes for minus 13 yards and was sacked three times.

Western Michigan 31, Akron 14

Quarterback Jeff Welsh and running back Charles Woods both had excellent outings for Western Michigan as the Broncos won handily over the Akron Zips. The dynamic duo combined to score all of the Broncos' touchdowns as they improved their home record to 2-0 on the season.

The Zips took the early lead when running back Brandon Payne fought his way into the end zone from five yards out late in the opening quarter. Western Michigan tied the game before the half on a short Woods touchdown run.

Akron went on to take a 14-7 lead early in the second half on quarterback Charlie Frye's four-yard touchdown run. Woods, however, once again pulled the Broncos back to a tie, this time scampering 29 yards for his second score of the game.

That's when Welsh took over.

Less than four minutes later, Welsh found a streaking Brandon Johnson for a 24-yard touchdown pass that put Western Michigan ahead for good. Welsh wasn't done however, as he would later hit Kendrick Mosley with a 32-yard strike to seal the deal for the Broncos.

Akron running back Dan Basch was one of the few bright spots for the Zips, amassing a career-high 125 yards on 10 carries, and was only outdone by Woods' 138 rushing yards. Welsh finished the contest with 353 yards on 26-42 passing with two touchdowns and one interception.