Reviewing Toledo's 31-20 Win over Purdue

When a non-AQ team knocks off a "BCS team", people take notice. But Toledo is doing it on a regular basis, as the Rockets are one of just four non-AQ's to beat a BCS team in each of the last five seasons. Here's how they did it against Big Ten member Purdue.

Another dagger was thrown into the strength of the Big Ten argument two weeks ago when Toledo Downed Purdue 31-20. The Rockets come into Bronco Stadium Saturday with a record of 3-2.

Sophomore quarterback Austin Dantin rushed for two touchdowns and threw for two more in the upset win over the Boilermakers in West Lafayette, Indiana. Dantin picked up key yardage on the ground (64 yards) to keep the Purdue defense honest, then sat back and completed 24 of 31 passes for 209 yards. Purdue came into the contest with a two-game winning streak and rushed for over 200 yards against Toledo, but they could not stop Dantin. Dantin led the Rockets to 378 yards of total offense, 157 more than their season average against their Big Ten opponent.

Dantin and Toledo drove 85 yards in 13 plays on their opening possession, with Eric Page snaring a 5-yard pass from Dantin to grab the early lead. Dantin hit 6-of-7 passes for 68 yards on the drive and the Rockets were successful on three straight third-down conversions. On the ensuing possession, Toledo defensive tackle Elijah Jones shot through to the Purdue backfield and caused quarterback Robert Marve to fumble, a loose ball Jones fell on. Marve was knocked out of the game on the hit.

Three plays later, Dantin found Danny Noble in the end zone for a seven-yard scoring play to give Toledo a 14-0 lead. Ryan Casano added a 34-yard field goal to advance the Rocket lead to 17-0 with 4:51 remaining in the half. Reserve quarterback Rob Henry drove Purdue to the 18 but a 35-yard field goal try by Carson Wiggs was wide right. Wiggs did hit a 49-yarder early in the third quarter to put the Boilermakers on the board.

Toledo answered that score with a 58-yard TD run from Dantin. Purdue tried to fight back with a 36-yard touchdown by Jared Crank and an 8-yard pass from Henry to Dan Dierking late in the third quarter that closed the score to 24-17. Wiggs' second field goal of the contest with 8:07 left cut the lead to 24-20 but Archie Donald intercepted Henry on Purdue's next drive. A 1-yard TD by Dantin with 5:24 left wrapped up the victory for Toledo.

"Offensively, we know how powerful we can be," Dantin said. "Through the summer and through fall camp, we've done some great things. It was just about translating that to a game situation. I think we did that today."

Toledo converted 9-of-15 third-down plays to control the clock while holding Purdue to just 5-of-15. Eric Page had 10 receptions for 94 yards and the TD. Meanwhile, Adonis Thomas ran for 79 yards on 13 carries to lead the ground attack.

"Our kids believed," Toledo coach Tim Beckman said. "They came in here and played four quarters of football. We still have a lot of things to improve, but I think they finally believe in what we need to do and are getting better every week we do it."

Toledo joined TCU, Navy and Brigham Young as the only non-BCS schools to beat a BCS team for at least five consecutive seasons.

Perhaps they were riding too high after the win over Purdue, but Toledo followed up that win with a loss at Boise State opponent Wyoming 20-15. The only other loss on Toledo's record is a season-opening defeat at the hands of Arizona. In between, Coach Beckman's team took care of conference business with wins on the road at Ohio and Western Michigan.

This Toledo team is a team on the move and as the win over Purdue showed, they will beat anyone who isn't ready for them.

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