Sep 15, 2018; Toledo, OH, USA; Toledo Rockets head coach Jason Candle looks on during the fourth quarter against the Miami Hurricanes at Glass Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

Nicholas Vattiato powers Middle Tennessee past Toledo

Nicholas Vattiato passed for 270 yards and two touchdowns to help Middle Tennessee record a 31-24 victory over Toledo on Friday in the Bahamas Bowl at Nassau, Bahamas.

Jarrin Pierce caught four passes for 114 yards and one score and Yusuf Ali also had a touchdown grab for the Blue Raiders (7-6). Mike DiLiello and Frank Peasant tacked on rushing scores as Conference USA’s Middle Tennessee scored 17 fourth-quarter points to win for the fifth time in its past seven games.

Bryant Roback gained 126 yards on 18 carries to top 100 yards for the sixth straight contest for Toledo (7-6), which had a three-game winning streak halted.

Roback became the fourth Toledo player to top 4,000 career yards. His total sits at 4,026, trailing only Kareem Hunt (4,945), Chester Taylor (4,849) and Wasean Tait (4,338).

Dequan Finn completed 18 of 39 passes for 212 yards, two touchdowns and one interception and also rushed for 83 yards and a score for the Rockets of the Mid-American Conference. Matt Landers caught four passes for 137 yards and a touchdown and DeMeer Blankumsee also had a scoring reception.

Middle Tennessee increased its national-best turnover count to 32 by forcing one. The victory put the Blue Raiders above .500 for just the second time all season — the other was after the season-opening win over FCS program Monmouth.

Toledo outgained the Blue Raiders 447 to 435.

DiLiello, a quarterback, scored on a 17-yard keeper on the first play of the final quarter to give the Blue Raiders a 21-17 lead. Later, Pierce shed the Toledo coverage and was wide open and Vattiato (23 of 35 passing) connected with him for a 59-yard scoring pass to push the lead to 11 with 6:24 remaining.

Just 46 seconds later, Middle Tennessee forced the turnover — the Rockets’ seventh of the entire season. Jordan Ferguson pressured Finn and the fluttering ball was intercepted by Zaylin Wood at the Toledo 23-yard line, setting up a 35-yard field goal by Zeke Rankin for a 31-17 lead.

Finn tossed a 13-yard scoring pass to Blankumsee with 1:08 left to pull Toledo within seven. Ali, however, recovered the ensuing onside kick and the Blue Raiders ran out the clock.

Toledo led 17-14 at halftime after Thomas Cluckey kicked a 32-yard field goal with 1:05 remaining.

Middle Tennessee struck first on Vattiato’s 6-yard scoring pass to Ali with 1:30 left in the opening quarter.

Toledo knotted the score when Finn exploded on a 40-yard run on fourth-and-1 and with 13:52 left in the half. The Rockets moved ahead when Landers made a great grab of Finn’s throw at midfield and turned it into a 90-yard touchdown with 11:11 remaining.

The Blue Raiders tied the score at 14 on Peasant’s 1-yard run with 8:58 left in the half.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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