Nov 3, 2023; Laramie, Wyoming, USA; Wyoming Cowboys head coach Craig Bohl against the Colorado State Rams during the fourth quarter at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

In Craig Bohl’s finale, Wyoming takes on Toledo in Arizona Bowl

Wyoming will mark the end of an era when it squares off against Toledo on Saturday afternoon in the Arizona Bowl in Tucson.

The contest will mark the final game for veteran Wyoming coach Craig Bohl, who will retire at the end of the season. Bohl, 65, has spent 42 years on the sidelines, including the past 10 as the Cowboys’ head coach.

After the bowl game, Jay Sawvel will take over as Wyoming’s next coach. Sawvel has been the team’s defensive coordinator and safeties coach since 2020.

“I always joke with all of our support people around here,” Bohl said, deflecting questions about his legacy. “I say, ‘You put your hand in a bucket of water, take it out, and that’s how long you’re going to be missed.”

Bohl and his Mountain West team are serious when it comes to the season finale for Wyoming (8-4), which is making its third straight bowl appearance, including its second consecutive in the Arizona Bowl.

Toledo, meanwhile, is eager to show what it can do in front of a national audience. The Rockets are 11-2, including 8-0 in the Mid-American Conference.

A major reason for Toledo’s success this season has been the play of quarterback Dequan Finn, who passed for 2,657 yards and 22 touchdowns along with rushing for 563 yards and seven scores. But Finn announced earlier this month that he is transferring to Baylor for his final season of eligibility, and he will not play for the Rockets in the bowl game.

In place of Finn, backup quarterback Tucker Gleason will start. Gleason has completed 14 of 21 passes for 199 yards and four touchdowns in spot duty this season, and he has completed 50.7 percent of his passes for 1,152 yards and 12 touchdowns, with three interceptions, in his collegiate career.

“We wish (Finn) nothing but the best of luck,” Toledo coach Jason Candle said. “He’s won a lot of football games for us here. He’s done a lot for this program, he’s done a lot for this institution. Give him a lot of credit — he had a tremendous season.

“We turn our focus to Tucker Gleason starting this football game and building a plan around him to go play very, very well in the game,” Candle added. “Tucker’s a guy that has got a lot of great respect in our locker room, and he’s somebody the guys will definitely rally around and go play very well for. We’re excited about the opportunities for Tucker.”

Toledo also lost top running back Peny Boone to the transfer portal this week. Boone racked up 1,400 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns this season and reportedly is drawing interest from Florida State, Kentucky and Louisville.

Wyoming is led on offense by quarterback Andrew Peasley, who has thrown for 1,823 yards and 20 touchdowns, with five interceptions, this season. The team’s top rusher is Harrison Waylee, who has run for 856 yards and five touchdowns and has averaged 5.9 yards per carry.

This will be the third all-time meeting between the programs. Wyoming won the first matchup 20-15 in 2010, and Toledo won the second matchup 34-31 in 2012.

–Field Level Media

Dec 2, 2023; Detroit, MI, USA; Miami (OH) Redhawks quarterback Aveon Smith (2) runs up the sidelines against the Toledo Rockets in the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Miami (Ohio) knocks off Toledo for MAC title

Aveon Smith passed for 109 yards and rushed for 99, and Miami (Ohio) scored the final 10 points to rally past Toledo 23-14 in the Mid-American Conference Championship game Saturday in Detroit.

The RedHawks (11-2) avenged a 21-17 loss on Oct. 21 to the Rockets (11-2), who were seeking a second consecutive MAC title and a potential New Year’s Six bowl game bid.

Miami has not lost since, winning four regular-season games and Saturday’s conference championship, its first since 2019.

Smith replaced injured starting quarterback Brett Gabbert in the first game against Toledo. He was selected the Offensive Most Valuable Player after Saturday’s effort, with 6-of-16 passing and 21 rushes, including a 50-yarder.

Miami’s Graham Nicholson made three field goals, including a 40-yarder with 13:37 remaining in the fourth quarter for a 16-14 lead.

Rashad Amos ran for his second touchdown of the game, a 10-yarder with 2:41 remaining to complete a six-play, 72-yard drive and push the advantage to 23-14. Amos also had a 1-yard score in the opening quarter and totaled 74 yards on 15 carries.

Toledo trailed 10-0 after the first quarter, then outscored Miami 14-3 in the next two quarters before being shut out 10-0 in the final period.

Dequan Finn was 18 of 36 for 273 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Rockets. Kicker Luke Pawlak missed two field goals and one extra point.

–Field Level Media

Dec 20, 2022; Boca Raton, Florida, USA; Liberty Flames linebacker Mike Smith Jr. (7) tackles Toledo Rockets quarterback Dequan Finn (7) during the first quarter in the 2022 Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Toledo upends Liberty to halt bowl loss streak

Dequan Finn passed for one touchdown and rushed for another to help Toledo record a 21-19 victory over Liberty on a rainy Tuesday night in the Boca Raton Bowl in South Florida.

Finn was 16-of-24 passing for 133 yards for the Rockets (9-5), who ended a four-game bowl losing streak. Lenny Kuhl caught a touchdown pass and Jacquez Stuart rushed for 111 yards for Toledo.

Kaidon Salter completed 12 of 20 passes for 84 yards and one touchdown and added 63 rushing yards for Liberty (8-5), which lost its fourth straight game. Receiver CJ Daniels threw a touchdown pass to Bentley Hanshaw for Liberty.

Shedro Louis rushed for a score and Treon Sibley caught a touchdown reception for the Flames, who fell for the first time in four FBS bowl appearances.

Liberty star defender Durrell Johnson recorded five tackles for loss to raise his national-leading total to 27.5, including his ninth sack. Teammate Mike Smith Jr. racked up 16 tackles.

The Rockets outgained Liberty 356 to 253.

The Flames dipped into the trick play bag when Daniels received a backwards throw from Salter and threw to the wide-open Hanshaw, who caught the ball near the Rockets’ 35-yard line and finished off the 67-yard play to bring his team within two with 3:40 left in the game. The ensuing two-point pass was no good.

The Rockets covered the ensuing pooch kick and ran out the clock.

Toledo opened the second half with a 13-play, 75-yard drive to move ahead to stay. Finn capped it with a 4-yard scoring pass to Kuhl to give the Rockets a 10-7 edge with 8:45 left in the third quarter.

After a turnover, Thomas Cluckey’s 29-yard field goal made it a six-point margin with 7:09 left in the period.

The Rockets later possessed the ball for seven minutes and covered 80 yards on 16 plays. Finn finished it with a 1-yard run and then completed a two-point shovel pass to Stuart to give Toledo a 21-7 lead with 10:35 left in the contest.

The Flames moved within eight on Salter’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Sibley with 7:24 left. But holder Aidan Alves fumbled the point-after snap and Nick Brown’s off-kilter attempt wobbled wide to the right.

Liberty led 7-3 at halftime.

The Flames struck first on a 9-yard scoring run by Louis with 3:50 remaining in the first quarter.

Finn was injured late in the first quarter when he was sacked and missed Toledo’s next series. Backup Tucker Gleason engineered a 10-play, 68-yard drive in his absence that led to Cluckey’s 41-yard field goal with 10:51 remaining in the first half.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) drops to throw during the first quarter against the Toledo Rockets at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

C.J. Stroud (5 TDs), No. 3 Ohio State put 77 on Toledo

C.J. Stroud threw for 367 yards and five touchdowns in less than three quarters as No. 3 Ohio State rolled to a 77-21 victory over visiting Toledo in Columbus on Saturday.

The Buckeyes (3-0) and Stroud had a game’s worth of offense by halftime, piling up a 42-14 lead on the Rockets (2-1) by scoring on all six possessions and generating 441 total yards. In the opening half, Stroud completed 18 of 20 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns apiece to Marvin Harrison Jr. and Julian Fleming.

Stroud finished 22 for 27 with 367 yards while Emeka Egbuka led the Ohio State receivers with seven catches for 116 yards and a score. Harrison added 102 yards on six catches.

Ohio State’s 762 total yards were the second-most in program history to 766 vs. Bowling Green on Sept. 3, 2016.

Toledo quarterback Dequan Finn tried his best to keep the game close. He threw a 50-yard scoring strike to Thomas Sziros to make it 7-7. After the Buckeyes jumped to a 28-7 lead, Finn ran for a 23-yard score.

But the Buckeyes had too much firepower. Miyan Williams rushed for 77 yards after starter TreVeyon Henderson left the game with an injury following his 7-yard run to make it 7-0.

Freshman Dallan Hayden contributed 108 yards on 17 carries and a TD. He had a 45-yard run to the Toledo 3 to set up a 1-yard plunge by Mitch Rossi on the Buckeyes’ first series of the second half to make it 49-14.

Finn responded on the next series with a 40-yard TD pass to Jerjuan Newton to cut the deficit to 49-21. Stroud then threw his fifth TD, a 7-yarder to Egbuka.

Finn was 10 of 19 for 153 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He carried seven times for 70 yards and a TD.

When Kyle McCord threw a 72-yard TD to Jayden Ballard with 11:45 left in the game, it marked the first time Ohio State reached 70 points since a 73-14 win over Maryland on Nov. 9, 2019.

— Field Level Media

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

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

Sep 11, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Michael Mayer (87) scores in the fourth quarter against the Toledo Rockets at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

No. 8 Notre Dame turns back Toledo upset bid with late TD pass

Jack Coan found Michael Mayer for an 18-yard touchdown with 1:09 remaining as No. 8 Notre Dame survived a wild closing stretch to edge visiting Toledo 32-29 on Saturday in South Bend, Ind.

After a scoreless third quarter, the teams combined for 31 fourth-quarter points with the Fighting Irish (2-0) barely hanging on against the upset-minded Rockets (1-1).

Toledo’s Dequan Finn scored on a 26-yard touchdown run with 1:35 to play, putting the visitors ahead 29-24. He opted not to slide at the 1, which would have given Toledo an opportunity to run out most of the clock before a last-second field goal attempt.

Coan then connected with Kevin Austin for 34 yards to ignite the decisive drive before a pair of penalties set up Coan’s game-winning pass to Mayer up the middle of the field. Wide receiver Avery Davis found Kyren Williams for the ensuing two-point conversion.

Toledo never threatened on its final drive. Rockets quarterback Carter Bradley was sacked and fumbled to effectively end the game.

Coan finished 21 of 33 for 239 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Mayer contributed seven catches for 81 yards and two scores for the Fighting Irish, who were playing in front of their home fans for the first time in nearly two years.

Bradley (17 of 27 for 213 yards), Bryant Koback (21 carries, 122 yards, TD) and Devin Maddox (nine catches, 135 yards) were among the offensive stars for Toledo.

The Fighting Irish trailed 16-14 entering the fourth quarter before Jonathan Doerer’s 48-yard field goal put them in front 2 1/2 minutes into the period.

The Rockets punted on their next drive, giving the ball back to Notre Dame near midfield. On the next play, Tyler Buchner hit a wide-open Chris Tyree down the left sideline for a 55-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

Now trailing 24-16, Toledo’s Koback took a shovel pass 8 yards to the end zone, but the two-point conversion pass failed. The Fighting Irish then squandered a chance to put away the game when Williams fumbled with 3 1/2 minutes to play.

Bradley and Isaiah Winstead hooked up for a pair of 15-yard completions on the ensuing drive before Finn sprinted to the end zone, giving the Rockets their final lead of the game.

–Field Level Media

Sep 5, 2021; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan (17) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

After close call, No. 8 Irish come home to face Toledo

No. 8 Notre Dame is looking for a cleaner performance when it hosts Toledo on Saturday in South Bend, Ind.

The Fighting Irish (1-0) are coming off a turbulent victory in their opening game against Florida State on Sunday night. Notre Dame blew an 18-point, fourth-quarter advantage but emerged with a 41-38 win in overtime.

Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly said a film review of the game showed plenty of room for improvement.

“When you are up 38-20 on the road and you give that lead up, many teams do not get out of there with a victory,” Kelly said. “Our guys hung in there. We came up with the big stop when we needed it defensively. They just showed their mettle and grit.

“As I said (Sunday), I really like this group. We’ve got a lot to do, a lot of work to clean up.”

The next opportunity will come against Toledo (1-0), which posted a dominant 49-10 win over Norfolk State on Saturday. The Rockets shined on defense and special teams, notching two touchdowns off blocked punts.

This will be the first meeting between the programs.

Toledo is 9-17 against top-25 ranked teams in its history. The Rockets’ last win over a ranked opponent was in the 2015 Boca Raton Bowl, when it knocked off No. 24 Temple.

“We’re looking forward to going out, playing a great football team and giving it our best shot,” Toledo coach Jason Candle said.

Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan will try to build upon his impressive debut for the program. The graduate transfer completed 26 of 35 passes for 366 yards, four touchdowns and one interception against the Seminoles.

“(Coan) pushed the ball well down the field,” Kelly said. “I thought we protected darn well. (But) we’re going to (have to) run the ball a little better.”

Notre Dame notched only 65 rushing yards on 35 attempts. The team’s offensive line features several new starters, and freshman left tackle Blake Fisher left last week’s contest because of a knee injury.

Star running back Kyren Williams struggled, as did his teammates who tried to carry the ball. Williams, a preseason All-American, had 18 carries for 42 yards as part of an underwhelming performance.

Toledo relied upon two quarterbacks in its opening win. Carter Bradley completed 8 of 12 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown, and teammate Dequan Finn completed 4 of 5 passes for 38 yards. Finn also had a 24-yard rushing TD.

Bryant Koback added 52 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground for Toledo.

Notre Dame cannot afford to overlook its opponent from the Mid-American Conference, Kelly said.

“We’re playing a really good team in Toledo,” Kelly said. “After watching their film, this is probably the finest MAC team that we’ve brought into the stadium since I’ve been here. So we’re going to have to be prepared, and we’re on a short week.”

–Field Level Media