Indiana 40, Toledo 6
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) _ Indiana’s Alex Smith rushed for 174 yards and a touchdown and Toledo lost star running back Wasean Tait for the season as the Hoosiers routed the Rockets 40-6 on Saturday night.
Smith, who opened the scoring with a 72-yard touchdown run, also was sidelined by an injury. Indiana’s Jason Spear had touchdown runs of 3 and 1 yards in the third quarter and a 32-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Bill Manolopoulos kicked two field goals and Eric Allen scored on a 24-yard interception return for the Hoosiers in the season opener for both teams. It also was the first time a Big Ten team had been the visitor in a game with a Mid-American Conference school
Tait, who set MAC records with 1,905 yards and 20 touchdowns last year, tore the patella tendon and the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee when he was tackled after scooping up a fumbled pitch on a fourth-down play at the Indiana 11 with 7:14 left in the second quarter.
He will undergo surgery on the tendon in the next two days and on the ligament in three months. The senior tailback will be able to take a medical redshirt option and return to the Rockets in 1997.
Smith ran for his touchdown with 11:02 left in the first quarter on the Hoosiers’ third offensive play, and Manolopoulos made it 10-0 later in the quarter with a 26-yard field goal.
He kicked a 34-yarder in the second quarter on the series before Tait’s injury. Toledo got its only score with 1:57 left in the first half on a 6-yard pass from Chip Hendon to Ryan Huzjak one play after Toledo’s Marcus Matthews blocked a punt.
Indiana clinched the victory by scoring twice in 16 seconds late in the third quarter. Spear scored his first touchdown and Allen’s interception came three plays later with 1:33 left in the period, making it 26-6.
Smith was injured earlier in the quarter as he was hit out of bounds and struck a wall following a 22-yard gain. He walked off the field and was taken to the University of Toledo Hospital for observation, but the extent of his injuries had not been determined.
Spear finished with 73 yards on 13 carries. Tait was Toledo’s leading rusher with 50 yards on 11 attempts.
Dorian Wilkerson caught eight passes for 114 yards for Indiana. Hendon had four receptions for 71 yards for the Rockets, who had a 12-game unbeaten streak end.
Big Ten schools hold a 71-16-2 advantage in games with MAC members.
The victory was Indiana coach Bill Mallory’s first in Toledo’s Glass Bowl after four losses while coaching Miami, Ohio, and Northern Illinois.