MAC roundup: No. 22 Toledo trounces EMU to stay perfect

Associated Press

Toledo, Ohio — The Toledo Rockets are off to their best start in 18 years thanks to the passing of Phillip Ely.

Ely threw for 327 yards and four touchdowns in less than three quarters to power No. 22 Toledo over Eastern Michigan 63-20 on Saturday. He completed 18 of 27 passes.

The Rockets (6-0, 2-0 Mid-American Conference) led 28-6 at halftime, and then Ely really warmed up. He threw touchdown passes on Toledo’s first two possessions of the second half, connecting with Corey Jones for a 55-yard score and then with Cody Thompson on an 88-yarder four minutes later.

“We went into halftime and discussed coverages we’d seen and felt like we could get the ball downfield a little more,” Ely said. “The (offensive line) was protecting well all day and it was a great job by our receivers getting downfield.”

The touchdown to Thompson was the fourth longest completion in school history, and it wasn’t the only record book-worthy play of the game against an Eastern Michigan (1-6, 0-3) defense that entered the game ranked 118th in scoring defense (40.7 points) and 116th in total defense (495.3 yards).

“That’s a play we run in practice all the time - a pump, double-move route - and Phil threw a great ball,” said Thompson, who caught the ball near midfield and raced up the sideline for the score. “I’m glad we finally hit a big play.”

Toledo sophomore Terry Swanson busted loose for a 90-yard run late in the second quarter that set up Kareem Hunt’s 4-yard touchdown run on the next play. The long run — also the fourth longest in school history — was a payback of sorts for Hunt, who converted two fourth-down runs on an earlier drive that ended with Swanson scoring on a 9-yard run.

Swanson’s long run was also the fourth longest in school history —and the longest that did not result in a touchdown. He said he’s preparing for a long week of ribbing after getting caught from behind by EMU’s Ray Tillman.

“I looked up at the Jumbotron a few times and didn’t see anybody coming,” Swanson said. He added that he was “shocked” when he felt Tillman’s contact.

Damion Jones-Moore also scored a rushing touchdown for Toledo, which finished with 611 yards of total offense.

Ely also threw touchdown passes to Michael Roberts and Diontae Johnson, was relieved by sophomore Michael Julian after the Rockets built a 49-6 lead late in the third quarter. Julian was 4 of 6 for 46 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown to Zach Yousey.

Quarterback Reginald Bell Jr. returned to the Eastern Michigan lineup for the first time since suffering a broken jaw in a season-opening loss to Old Dominion.

The dual-threat sophomore completed 16 of 26 passes for 121 yards and rushed for 28 yards on 14 attempts. He threw one interception and was sacked four times before being replaced in the fourth quarter by Brogan Roback, who started the five previous games for the Eagles.

Eastern Michigan’s Darius Jackson rushed for 113 yards and two fourth quarter touchdowns.

(At) Central Michigan 51, Buffalo 14: Cooper Rush threw for four touchdowns, and ran for one to lead Central Michigan.

Rush was 23 of 30 for 313 yards. Martez Walker had 20 carries for 60 yards and two scores, and Jesse Kroll caught seven balls for 133 yards and a TD.

Central Michigan (3-4, 2-1 Mid-America) took the opening kickoff and marched 78 yards in seven plays, culminating with Walker’s 6-yard touchdown. After trading punts, Buffalo (2-4, 0-2) responded with Joe Licata’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Ron Willoughby to tie it.

After that, it was all Chippewas. Another long drive ended in Rush’s 1-yard scoring plunge. Then in the second quarter, Central ran off 23 straight points, including Zach Oakley’s punt block that wound up a safety.

Western Michigan 49, (at) Ohio 14: Zach Terrell accounted for four touchdowns, and Jamauri Bogan ran for a career-high 135 yards and a score to lead Western Michigan.

Terrell completed 14 of 20 passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns and added 4-yard scoring run.

LeVante Bellamy had 149 yards rushing and a touchdown, and Jarvion Franklin added 95 yards and a score for Western Michigan (3-3, 2-0 Mid-American Conference). The Broncos, who came into the game averaging 123.8 yards rushing per game, ran for a season-high 430 yards — 401 in the second half.

Terrell threw first-half touchdown passes of 7 and 27 yards to Daniel Braverman as Western Michigan took a 14-7 lead into the break. Bogan’s 67-yard scoring run on the opening possession of the second half was the Broncos longest play from scrimmage this season and capped the first of five-consecutive Western Michigan touchdown drives.

Jordan Reid had 109 yards receiving for Ohio (5-2, 3-1).