"I thought this game may come down to who had the ball last," summed up Toledo coach Tom Amstutz afterward. And of course, Amstutz was correct. With the game tied up at 17-17, Marshall running back Franklin Wallace coughed up the ball after being hit by Toledo's Patrick Body, and that swung momentum in the Rockets favor.
Marshall quarterback Graham Gochneaur made his first collegiate start in relief of Stan Hill, and did not disappoint, connecting on 31-of-39 attempts for 289 yards and one TD pass. Gochneaur also ran the ball 7 times for 29 yards in the loss.
Marshall QB Graham Gochneaur threw for 289 yards in his first collegiate start.
"Graham played well enough for us to win," said Marshall coach Bob Pruett. "He played good today."
Earl Charles' 7 yard TD run in the first quarter would be the lone highlight for the Marshall running game. The Toledo defense bottled up the MU running attack, limiting them to 139 total yards on the ground, led by Wallace's 73 yards on 16 carries.
Darius Watts provided the lone Marshall passing TD, hauling in a 22 yard Gochneaur pass in the third quarter to briefly give Marshall the lead at 17-14.
Marshall RB Franklin 'Butchie' Wallace ran up the middle in the second half.
Toledo, meanwhile, used the running attack of Astin Martin and Trinity Dawson to inflict the most damage on the Herd, racking up 269 yards on the ground, including Martin's game-winning touchdown. UT quarterback Bruce Gradkowski completed 10-of-20 passes for 147 yards.
In the end, however, it was four critical Marshall turnovers that led to only the second loss in Marshall Stadium since Pruett became coach in 1996.
"It's tough to win here, because of the crowd behind them and the tradition of winning," said a happy Toledo coach Tom Amstutz.
"It wouldn't surprise me to see these two teams in the [MAC] championship," countered Pruett.
Marshall falls to an even 1-1 with the loss, and prepares to take on Kansas State next Saturday in Manhattan, Kansas.