TOLEDO, OHIO – The Toledo Rockets had little trouble in defeating the Phoenix of Elon University, 40-13, Thursday night in the season opener for both schools at the Glass Bowl.
While the nation’s leader . . .
Elon (0-1) playing its first game under new head coach Curt Cignetti, saw its record fall to 0-9 against the Football Bowl Subdivision (it was the Phoenix’ first game in their history against MAC competition).
The start of the game was all midnight Blue and Gold as they scored on four of their first five possessions. Three of them were field goals from junior Jameson Vest, who split the uprights from 28, 27 and 32 yards.
UT’s lone first half touchdown came midway through the first quarter when the hosts covered 70 yards in just two plays. The big play of the drive was a 69-yard catch and run from Woodside to sophomore Diontae Johnson, who caught the ball over the middle and then weaved through the Elon defense down to the one yard line. Swanson finished with a short run for the score.
Elon, a member of the Colonial Athletic Conference, got on the board after capitalizing on a turnover. After recovering a fumbled UT punt reception, backup freshman quarterback Jalen Greene used six plays to drive his squad 37 yards for Elon’s only points of the evening. Redshirt freshman RB Brelynd Cyphers scored from nine yards out to make it a 16-7 game. However, UT added fourth field goal from Vest -- this one a 21-yarder -- to make the score 19-7 at halftime.
Toledo broke the game open as the second half opened. Diontae Johnson took the second half kickoff, broke through the wedge and went down the right sideline for a 99-yard touchdown. It capped an outstanding evening for Johnson, who also had four receptions for 102 yards.
UT added touchdowns from Swanson (his second of the game) from five yards out and from sophomore Reggie Gilliam on a one-yard run. Swanson finished the game with just 36 yards on 11 carries but had the two scores.
Both teams added a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Elon scored on a seven-play, 53-yard drive, with junior Malcolm Summers scoring the touchdown from one yard out. However, the extra point was missed. UT later went on an eight-play 81-yard drive. Redshirt freshman Shakif Seymour capped the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run up the middle.
On the evening, Elon registered just 175 yards of offense to 553 for Toledo. Cyphers provided 69 of the Phoenix yards on 20 carries.
During the game, the Phoenix used two freshmen quarterbacks. However, neither one was effective throwing the ball. Greene was 1-for-3 and Davis Cheek, who started the game, went 7-of-10 for only 22 yards. Greene also owned 16 yards on seven carries using the read-option.
Defensively, the Phoenix were led by senior linebacker Chris Blair, who had 11 total tackles (seven solo) and junior backer Warren Messer with 10 tackles (nine assists).
Before leaving the game, Woodside moved into fourth place on the UT’s all-time passing yardage list with 6,946 yards.
Defensively, Toledo was led by senior linebackers Jack Lynch and Zach Quinn with six total tackles.
UT returns to action on Saturday September 8 when it heads west to face the Nevada Wolfpack from the Mountain West Conference in Reno.