UT’s Cody Thompson scores one of his four touchdowns in the second half of the Rockets’ win over Central Michigan on Saturday in the Glass Bowl. Thompson caught seven passes from Logan Woodside for 122 yards. BLADE/LORI KING
University of Toledo junior quarterback Logan Woodside connected with junior wide receiver Cody Thompson for four touchdown passes, and the Rockets’ defense slowed a high-powered Central Michigan offense in a 31-17 win on Saturday at the Glass Bowl.
After a low-scoring first half, the Rockets (6-1, 3-0 MAC) broke through for 28 points in the second half as Woodside found Thompson on scores of 16, 16, 11 and 34 yards.
IN PICTURES: Toledo 31, Central Michigan 17
“It seemed like he was always open today,” Woodside said.
“I just tried to find him and just put the ball where he could catch it, and he made a bunch of big plays for us today. I think we just come in every day and we work really hard. We’re really good friends and we just try to go out there and make each other better each day.”
Woodside finished 23-of-32 passing for 264 yards and four touchdowns.
Thompson had seven catches for 122 yards and four scores.
“We put in a lot of hours over the summer, and we’re good friends,” Thompson said.
“I’m not the only guy that has scored a couple touchdowns in one game. [Woodside] has a connection with all the receivers.
“I guess it was just my day today. Central Michigan has a great defense and it was just a good day for us out there.”
Senior running back Kareem Hunt led the Rockets’ ground game with 20 carries for 87 yards.
Both teams struggled to make plays in the first half as UT took a 3-0 lead into halftime.
Jameson Vest opened the scoring with a 34-yard field goal with 5:45 left in the first quarter.
At the end of the half, Central Michigan (5-3, 3-2) running back Devon Spalding caught a pass and raced toward the corner of the end zone. While diving in the air, he was hit by UT cornerback Trevon Mathis and fumbled through the end zone, resulting in a touchback for Toledo. The play was confirmed after review, and the Rockets ran out the second quarter clock.
What could have been a 7-3 Central Michigan lead at halftime was a 3-0 Toledo lead.
“That was a huge play,” UT coach Jason Candle said. “It was a great job of getting the ball out with him and getting the ball loose.
“It gave us some momentum going into half. You’re talking you are down four going into half or you’re up three, and you have the lead and you know you are going to get the ball going in the third quarter. So that was big.”
Woodside opened the second half by finding Thompson on a 16-yard TD strike with 12:26 left in the third quarter.
“I thought it was important that we get the ball in the third quarter on the opening possession and go down there and score,” Candle said. “I thought that was huge.”
On the next possession, UT senior safety Connery Swift intercepted a Cooper Rush pass over the middle.
“They motioned to a formation and we had to check,” Swift said. “Thanks to pressure from the defensive line and other defensive backs in coverage, I was able to get my hands on the ball.”
That play set up a Toledo touchdown as Woodside hit Thompson on another 16-yard pass to give UT a 17-0 lead with 9:35 left in the quarter.
Rush got the Chippewas on the board with a 20-yard TD run with 6:50 remaining in the third quarter. The score cut the Toledo lead to 17-7.
CMU’s Brian Eavey made a 36-yard field goal to cut the UT lead to 17-10 with 1:30 left in the quarter.
Woodside then tossed an 11-yard TD pass to Thompson, giving UT a 24-10 lead with 11:36 left in the game. The duo then connected on a 34-yard TD strike with 7:30 left to give UT a 31-10 lead.
“He’s a good player,” Central Michigan coach John Bonamego said of Thompson. “I think they found a matchup they liked. We didn’t have an answer for it from a pass-rush standpoint. If you let a quarterback have time, he’s going to find the open person, and I think Thompson’s a real good football player.”
After Toledo had two straight interceptions wiped out on roughing the passer calls on Ola Adeniyi, Rush found Tyler Conklin on a 4-yard TD pass with 4:11 left to cut UT’s lead to 31-17.
Rush finished 18-of-31 passing for 229 yards and a touchdown as Toledo was able to limit the star quarterback’s production.
“They have a great quarterback, but our approach to every week is the same,” Swift said. “We respect their players and have to account for them, but our approach is the same.”
Toledo was able to stay unbeaten in conference play.
“This was a great team victory for us,” Candle said. “That’s a good team we just played. I’m really proud of our effort to stay the course for 60 minutes. I thought it was huge for us to come out in the third quarter the way we did after a tough first 30 minutes. To be able to score points off turnovers was a big deal.”
Contact Brian Buckey at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6110.
Toledo’s Corey Jones inadvertently strikes the Heisman Trophy pose as he cuts between Central Michigan defenders in the second half. Jones caught 7 passes for 86 yards Saturday. THE BLADE/LORI KING