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Rout, injury allow Rockets to flaunt running back depth

09/18/2016, 12:32am EDT
By By BRIAN BUCKEY BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Art Thompkins may be the fourth running back on Toledo’s depth chart, but he proved against Fresno State on Saturday that he can make plays when given an opportunity.

Thompkins carried the ball 15 times for 103 yards, most of that coming in the fourth quarter.

“Art’s a different kind of back,” UT coach Jason Candle said. “He’s got a little bit of charge in him. You see when he runs the football that our sidelines get a little juice to them. Any one of those four guys, I feel confident of them going in and doing a good job.”

Thompkins, from Pittsburgh, has an exciting running style that has impressed his teammates. Playing behind Kareem Hunt, Terry Swanson, and Damion Jones-Moore, Thompkins made the most of his playing time on Saturday.

GAME STORY: Toledo tops 300 yards in air, on ground in rout of Fresno State

Jones-Moore was injured early in the game, allowing Thompkins to get more time.

Thompkins scored one a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for his second touchdown of the year.

At 6.9 yards per carry against Fresno State, Thompkins proved he could make big plays in the run game.

“Art is an explosive player,” Hunt said. “He’s going to be a good one for us for a long time. I’m excited to see what he can do when it’s crunch time too. He can make big plays.”

MOORE IS BACK: Junior defensive tackle Marquise Moore returned to the Toledo lineup after serving a two-game suspension to begin the season for a violation of athletic department policy.

“It was a big boost for us,” Candle said. “Marquise is a veteran guy who has played a lot of football for us. He’s a mature football player and not a guy that you have to consistently harp on the little mistakes. He usually does the right thing, and he’s hard to block.”

Moore, a Whitmer graduate, formed an effective combination with senior defensive tackle Treyvon Hester in the center of the Rockets’ defensive line, which limited Fresno State to just 51 yards rushing.

HUNT MOVING UP: Hunt, with his touchdown on Saturday, moved into sole possession of third place in school history with 36 career rushing touchdowns. He trails Wasean Tait (38 touchdowns) and Chester Taylor (56).

Hunt also topped 100 yards rushing in a game for the 21st time during his career, the second-highest total in school history.

THE RED ZONE: Toledo was 6 for 6 in red-zone opportunities on Saturday. Through the first three games, the Rockets are 11 of 12 (91.7 percent) inside the red zone. 

Tight end Michael Roberts continued to pose a threat to the opposing defense in the red zone, hauling in touchdowns of 9 and 6 yards. Roberts has now scored five touchdowns this season and has at least one in each of the team’s three games.

BIG CATCHES: Senior wide receiver Zach Yousey has four career catches, but two of those have gone for touchdowns. Yousey caught a 62-yard pass from Michael Julian during Saturday’s game and had a 14-yard touchdown catch against Eastern Michigan on Oct. 17, 2015.

SACKS: Toledo recorded five sacks, with two by Hester. The offensive line did not allow a Fresno State sack and has not surrendered a sack yet this season.

Contact Brian Buckey at: bbuckey@theblade.com or 419-724-6110.

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Toledo running back Kareem Hunt is hit by Fresno State’s Tyquwan Glass, left, after picking up a first down. Hunt, who scored during the win, now has 36 ca­reer rush­ing touchdowns. BLADE/ANDY MORRISON

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Tag(s): College  Toledo