Toledo beats Navy 45-44 in 2 OTs after failed PAT
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Toledo showed Navy it has a pretty good running game too.
The Rockets, relying on a pair of freshmen after their top rusher went down, ran for 316 yards Saturday against the Midshipmen in a thrilling 45-44 double overtime victory that came down to a pass and a kick.
Terrance Owens tossed a 20-yard touchdown to Bernard Reedy — his first TD pass of the day — and Jeremiah Detmer kicked the extra point, allowing Toledo to survive after it gave up a late fourth quarter lead.
Navy (3-3) piled up 419 yards rushing, but Toledo managed to match the Midshipmen’s formidable triple-option time after time.
Toledo’s’ David Fluellen controlled things on the ground early on and finished with 154 rushing yards on 19 carries before being taken into the locker room at the beginning of the fourth with an injured back.
Fluellen, a senior, was carted off after getting pulled down awkwardly on a hard hit. He didn’t return. Despite his early exit, he still extended his streak of six straight 100-yard games.
The Rockets (4-3) then turned it over to a pair freshmen backs.
“We’ve got a lot of faith in them,” said Toledo coach Matt Campbell. “I really believe our young guys are talented and some of those guys don’t get a chance to go out and play.”
Freshman Kareem Hunt took over for the Rockets in the fourth quarter. His 19-yard touchdown, coming five plays after Fluellen was hurt, put Toledo up 31-21 with 12:10 to play.
Hunt ended up with 128 yards rushing on 15 carries. He also scored on a 52-yard run in the third quarter.
In the two overtimes, Toledo inserted freshman Damion Jones-Moore who scored on a 1-yard touchdown to give Toledo a 38-31 lead in the first overtime.
Jones-Moore set up the score by running five yards on a fourth-down play.
Campbell initially decided to try a field goal, but then called time out and changed his mind.
“I looked at our kids as they were coming off and they almost looked at me like what are you doing,” he said. “I felt like then we had to score a touchdown or we weren’t going to win.”
Owens had struggled much of the game until finding Reedy wide open in the end zone on Toledo’s second play of the second overtime.
The winning play came after Navy’s Geoffery Whiteside scored on a 9-yard touchdown to give Navy a 44-38 lead. But Nick Sloan missed the extra point.
Sloan had just sent the game into overtime with a 40-yard field goal on the final play in regulation.
Navy coach Ken Niumatololo refused to blame his kicker. “When you have two teams that are pretty evenly matched going at it . an extra point, a missed block, a missed assignment are crucial,” he said.
Navy scored in both overtimes but gave the Rockets an opening after the failed kick.
“That’s kicking. That’s just how it is,” Sloan said. “You make one, one second then you miss one the next second.”
The teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime.
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds scored on 1-yard keeper to send the game into a second overtime.
Navy came back in the fourth quarter with a pair of impressive drives.
“We could have folded the tent in the fourth quarter when we were down by 10,” Niumatololo said. “That’s a true testament to the type of kids we have.”
The Midshipmen put together a 96-yard drive that was capped off by Reynolds’ 3-yard touchdown run, pulling Navy within 31-28 with just under five minutes left.
Navy got the ball quickly after forcing to Toledo to punt and drove 43-yards to set up Sloan’s tying field goal that sent the game into overtime. The kick was a yard shy of his career long.
Reynolds completed just 5 of 12 passes for Navy, but he ran for three short touchdowns.
Noah Copeland led Navy on the ground with 153 yards rushing.
Navy had little trouble moving the ball against the Rockets in the first half, but twice the Midshipmen drove inside Toledo’s 30-yard-line without getting any points. They were stopped on downs the second time they had the ball and Nick Sloan later missed a 38-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Toledo’s only touchdown of the first half came on a Navy turnover.
Reynolds fumbled on a keeper and Toledo defensive end Jayrone Elliott picked it up in the middle of a pile, racing 68 yards for a touchdown to give Toledo a 10-7 lead with 13:08 left in the second quarter.
It was the fourth straight game the Rockets’ defense scored a touchdown — all on fumble recoveries.