University of Toledo senior tight end Michael Roberts started Saturday’s rivalry game against Bowling Green scoring early and ended the game scoring often, utilizing his size and speed to burn the Bowling Green defense for three touchdowns.
Roberts finished the game with career highs in catches (6), receiving yards (94) and touchdowns (3), scoring on catches of 41, 22, and 5 yards.
IN PICTURES: Toledo 42, Bowling Green 35
“It’s not all about the pass game,” Roberts said. “A big part of our pass game is our run game and we have literally a 1-2-3 punch. They helped me out and then the offensive line protecting the quarterback helped me and then Logan [Woodside] and I work hard together and as a receiver corps, in situations, to perform well at a high rate.”
Roberts scored his 41-yard TD in the first quarter on a pass down the sideline in which his extra effort propelled him past defenders and ended with a dive into the end zone. He followed with a second-quarter touchdown on a 22-yard pass and a third-quarter touchdown on a five-yard pass.
At 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds, Roberts is a big target for Woodside in the red zone and has continually made key third-down catches during the season.
“He’s been a security blanket down the middle of the field for our quarterback,” UT coach Jason Candle said. “You can see when he is noticeably running down field. He’s a guy that the quarterback can easily find. I give Mike a lot of credit. His work ethic has stepped up in the last six or eight months and he’s really embraced what being a good senior football player looks like. He’s still a work in progress and has to continue to improve each and every day, but I’m really proud of what he has done so far.”
Roberts, a Cleveland native, has nine touchdowns this season, which ties him for the single-season mark by a UT tight end set by Don Seymour in the 1973 season.
After a pass sailed by Roberts on a third-down play late in the third, he took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Bowling Green linebacker Aaron Banks. Roberts stayed in the game and responded by finishing off the drive with touchdown catch.
“He’s just a big body and he goes up and makes big plays,” Woodside said. “He got a cheap shot on the sideline and that didn’t really rattle him at all. He came back and caught a big touchdown for us. That’s all the credit to him and I have a lot of faith in him that he goes up and makes plays.”
With his next touchdown, Roberts will set the single-season mark for Toledo tight ends, something he said would be a great honor in his senior season.
“It’s unbelievable,” Roberts said. “I can't tell the future. I don’t know how the game is going to go, I just have to capitalize on each and every opportunity that I have and that’s what I try and do.”
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