UPDATE: Late interceptions lead to 50-35 loss to Toledo
TOLEDO – Central Michigan quarterback Ryan Radcliff tried to throw a short out-route to pick up the first down on third–and–one with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game down 34–28.
Toledo senior safety Mark Singer jumped the pass for an interception and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown as the Rockets beat CMU 50-35 at the Glass Bowl Saturday afternoon.
“The defender made a good play, honestly,” wide receiver Cody Wilson said. “It was an out route by Titus (Davis). He had a choice to slant it; they played man coverage; he did the right thing. Ryan threw the ball in the right place, the guy just undercut it. Good play by him.”
CMU had a final chance to tie the game with 50 seconds left to play down eight points, but Radcliff threw his second interception returned for a touchdown of the fourth quarter.
Two punt returns from Bernard Reed propelled the Toledo scoring. The first of the game for Reed went for 53 yards to set up an easy opening field goal.
“Bernard Reed is special player because he comes to practice and competes and excells in practice,” Toledo head coach Matt Campbell said. “(He) did a great job; he had a great second half.”
Reed cut back on the CMU coverage team for a 66-yard touchdown on his first return of the second. The special teams’ score gave Toledo its first lead of the second half, 24-21.
Radcliff finished his second–straight game of 300-yards passing. He was 28-of-44 for 327 yards with two interceptions and tied a career-high four touchdowns.
“Besides those two interceptions, I thought Ryan played really well,” Wilson said. “Little bit like last week, we hurt ourselves. If we want to beat good teams, we can’t do that.”
Toledo quarterback Terrance Owens rushed for two touchdowns, but also threw his first interception of the season to defensive back Anthony Young.
The Rockets turned the ball over three times in the first half, allowing CMU to take a 21-17 halftime lead. Owens finished with 233 passing yards and 81 rushing yards.
After the Toledo lead ballooned to 10 in the third quarter, sophomore Courtney Williams made a diving catch, barely keeping his feet in bounds for a three–yard touchdown pass from Radcliff – his first of the season.
Williams caught another touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, recording his first two–touchdown games of his career.
Toledo struck first after a 53-yard punt return following the opening CMU drive put them in field-goal position. After a three-and-out Jeremiah Detmer made a 33-yard field goal.
On the Rockets second possession, two CMU true freshmen defensive players forced a turnover. Jabari Dean, making is first start on the defensive line, stripped the ball out, and Brando Greer recovered it.
CMU junior running back Zurlon Tipton scored on an 11-yard rush on the very next play. The run put the Chippewas up 7-3. Tipton has 12 rushes for 57 yards.
“What I was most dissappinted in was our inconsistently running the ball,” CMU head coach Dan Enos said. “I think that forced us to throw too much in the second half.”
Two fourth-down conversions, including a one-yard plunge to score, helped the Rockets score their first touchdown and reclaim the lead at 10-7.
Davis scored his fourth touchdown in three games for CMU on a corner-post route 23 yards out from Radcliff. On the next CMU possession, the senior quarterback hooked up with sophomore Deon Butler on a slant to make it a 21-10 CMU lead midway through the second quarter.
The Rockets cut CMU’s lead to 21-17 just before halftime on Owens’ 11-yard touchdown run with 13 seconds left in the half.
Although CMU allowed 50 points in the game, only 26 of those points were scored against the Chippewa defense. Toledo added points on a punt return touchdown and two interceptions.
“(The defense) put us in a position where we had a good chance to win,” Wilson said. “And as an offense, we have to make plays and put points on the board when we have that chance.”
For Toledo, it was its fifth–straight win after losing to Arizona in overtime during its season opener. CMU lost its second consecutive MAC game, slipping to 2-3 overall.
Friday, Navy will come to Mount Pleasant to face the Chippewas in the final non-conference game of the regular season.
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