Toledo, Bowling Green shine against power conference foes

By Ryan Donovan

Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema made waves last week when he criticized No. 1 Ohio State’s schedule, pointing out his team faces eight ranked teams this season, while the Buckeyes only have to face one more.

On Saturday, he had to eat some of those words.

The No. 18 Razorbacks lost at home to unranked Toledo 16-12, a surprising upset in the Southeastern Conference, and an impressive victory for the mid-major Rockets.

Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen had two passing attempts in the final six seconds from the Toledo 16-yard-line, but could not convert on either. The Razorbacks were marred by poor execution throughout the game, and especially in the fourth quarter.

Toledo quarterback Phillip Ely, a transfer from Alabama, threw for 237 yards and a touchdown in the victory.

The Rockets jumped on the board early when Ely connected with Corey Jones on a short touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Toledo missed the two-point conversion, making it 6-0.

Arkansas’ Alex Collins answered with a 21-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, but Toledo closed out the half with a field goal to take a 9-7 lead into halftime. It then put together a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive that resulted in a touchdown in the third quarter to go up 16-7.

The Razorbacks answered with a field goal and forced a Toledo safety with 52 seconds remaining to make it 16-12, but couldn’t finish the potential game-winning drive.

Bowling Green storms back on ACC foe

Led by quarterback Matt Johnson, Bowling Green exploded late against Maryland to top the ACC foe on the road 48-27.

The Falcons (1-1) responded following a week one loss to Tennessee, utilizing its high-profile offense to keep Maryland (1-1) scrambling after a slow start in the first half.

Trailing 13-6 at halftime, Bowling Green opened up the floodgates behind Johnson, who threw for six touchdowns – four came in the fourth quarter – 491 yards, both career highs. The Falcons defense also forced four Maryland turnovers en route to the win.

Bowling Green outgained Maryland 491 to 185 yards through the air. Freshman wide receiver Roger Lewis anchored the Falcons, catching 15 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson also found Robbie Rhodes, Ryan Burbink, Derek Lee and Gehrig Dieter for touchdowns.

Maryland jumped out to an early lead behind a long-distance passing attack and an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown, but struggled to stop Bowling Green’s offense on third downs. On multiple occasions, the Falcons converted crucial third-down plays into scoring opportunities.

Bowling Green also maintained an edge in time-of-possession, running 105 plays to Maryland’s 59 and outscoring the Terrapins 28-7 in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons will host Memphis next week, while Maryland will face South Florida at home.

Ryan Donovan can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter