by CFP Staff
December 28, 2011
Air Force fumbled the ball out-of-bounds on an attempted 2-point conversion off a fake kick with 52 seconds left, giving Toledo a 42-41 win in the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.
The Toledo defense, usually an oxymoron, sniffed out the fake and when holder David Baska found himself with nowhere to run, the ball squirted out and toward the sideline as kicker Parker Herrington tried to chase it down.
A wild 28-28 first half was typical of a lot of Toledo games this season, with touchdowns that covered long distances against defenses that didn't show up. Rocket Quarterback Terrance Owens and receiver Bernard Reedy began the scoring with a 17-yard pass over the middle. Air Force fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Adonis Thomas raced 41 yards on the next play to put the Rockets up 14-zip.
The Falcons struck back as QB Tim Jefferson ran 22 yards for a touchdown, but Eric Page returned the kickoff 87 yards to the house to put Toledo back in front by 14. Three plays later, following a 60-yard run by Jonathan Warzeka, Mike DeWitt ran in from 3 yards out to make it 21-14, Toledo. All of that came in just the first 15 minutes.
Following a Toledo punt, Air Force drove 79 yards to tie the score on a 1-yard run by Asher Clark and Toledo responded six plays later with Reedy's second touchdown of the game on a 48-yard hookup with Owens. Air Force knotted the score at 28 on a 37-yard pass to Warzeka on 4th-and-3.
The second half turned defensive as Toledo regained the lead on Jermaine Robinson's interception of a tipped pass and 37-yard touchdown return. DeWitt's 2nd touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run make it 35-all.
That tie stood until the 5:01 mark of the 4th period when Owens tossed a short pass to Reedy who spun and ran 33 yards to paydirt for his third score, en route to being named the game's MVP. Air Force immediately embarked on a 12-play, 78-yard drive that ended with Jefferson teaming up with Zack Kauth for a 33-yard touchdown pass.
Jefferson became the first quarterback in Air Force history to lead his team to four bowl games, but the loss dropped the Falcons to 2-2 in those games after winning 2 in-a-row. The Falcons finished the season 7-6 after becoming bowl eligible by winning four of their last five regular season games.
It was the head coaching debut for Matt Campbell. The 32-year old was named Toledo's interim head coach on December 9 after Tim Beckman was hired to replace Ron Zook at Illinois, but was hired as head coach 3 days later.
Toledo finished 9-4 and will begin the 2012 season on a 4-game winning streak. The Rockets won 8 of their last 9 games, including the bowl game, after starting the season 1-3 against a nonconference slate that featured road trips to Ohio State and Syracuse sandwiched around a home game with Boise State.
Toledo only lost to the Buckeyes by 5 when they turned the ball over on downs at the Ohio State 16-yard line with 40 seconds left. And the The Rockets were victims of the biggest blunder of the year by officials in the Syracuse overtime loss. That game, you may remember, was where the Orange went ahead 30-27 with 2:07 left in regulation on a PAT that was was inexplicably ruled good when it was clearly wide right. (The Big East was quick to admit the mistake after the game, but it was too late). Toledo then drove the field and kicked what could have been the game-winning field goal. Instead, it became the game-tying kick and the Rockets wound up losing 33-30 in overtime.
58.3% of CollegeFootballPoll.com voters picked the Rockets to win and the Congrove Computer Rankings favored Toledo by 4.24 points.