DALLAS (FWAA) – The Toledo Rockets tallied their first road win over a top-25 non-conference opponent behind a defense that protected a slim second-half lead. The Rockets held No. 18 Arkansas to just three points in its four red-zone visits in the second half, and held on for a 16-12 win in Little Rock. Toledo’s first win over an SEC opponent earned it the AutoNation National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 12.
The Rockets (1-0), three-touchdown underdogs, held the Razorbacks to just 103 rushing yards on 31 attempts. Although outgained 515-318, Toledo’s defensive red zone play made the difference. Linebacker Jaylen Coleman led the way with a career-high 13 tackles, and the defense had eight pass breakups, led by a career-high three by cornerback Cheatham Norrils.
Quarterback Phillip Ely, a former backup at Alabama, threw for 237 yards and was efficient throughout, not taking a sack and completing seven third-down passes.
“Today’s game, in my opinion, was about a couple things: No. 1 was the belief in our football program vs. the odds,” Toledo head coach Matt Campbell told the Toledo Blade.
The Rockets were 0-14 on the road against top-25 non-conference opponents prior to Saturday. Their last win over a ranked team was a 29-23 win over No. 18 Cincinnati in 2012. Toledo opened its season last week at home against Stony Brook, but bad weather halted the game early on, and it was later canceled.
Other AutoNation National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Sept. 12 included:
• Bowling Green (1-1): The Falcons exploded for 42 second-half points after trailing 13-6 at halftime and won at Maryland, 48-27. Bowling Green outgained Maryland, 692-341, its highest yardage output under head coach Dino Babers. Redshirt senior quarterback Matt Johnson threw for 491 yards (second-highest total in school history) and six touchdowns (tying the school record).
• BYU (2-0): The Cougars were last-minute winners again as freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum threw to a leaping Mitchell Juergens for a 35-yard touchdown with 45 seconds left, keeping BYU undefeated with a 35-24 win over Boise State. BYU has upset ranked teams in consecutive weeks to start the season. Kai Nacua clinched the win with a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown, his third pick of the game, with 40 seconds left.
• Eastern Michigan (1-1): The Eagles surprised Wyoming with 38 first-half points and cruised to a 48-29 win, earning their first non-conference road win since 1988. The win also snapped a 14-game road losing streak dating back to the 2012 season. Sophomore quarterback Brogan Roback threw for a career-high 330 yards and three touchdowns.
As part of AutoNation’s history of charitable involvement, AutoNation will donate $1,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) in the University of Toledo’s name. This charitable college football initiative culminates with the AutoNation Cure Bowl, a new post-season NCAA football game that kicks off bowl season at the Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., and will be aired by CBS Sports Network. The aptly named AutoNation Cure Bowl also serves as a fund raiser for the BCRF, CharityWatch’s only A+ rated breast cancer organization in the country.
“We want to celebrate the very best of college football, while also helping to raise awareness for the importance of finding a cure for cancer,” says AutoNation CMO Marc Cannon. “This season-long partnership with the FWAA, leading up to the AutoNation Cure Bowl, puts a spotlight on a cause that we’re determined to tackle.”
“In our 75th season of existence, this a marvelous platform to get our players and the team of the week series excellent exposure as well as helping AutoNation in its effort to fight cancer and contribute to the educational funds of deserving student-athletes,” said FWAA 2015 President Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald. “It is very exciting to be able to help our organization as well as others in this splendid effort.”
The Football Writers Association of America has named a national team of the week since the 2002 season. This is the first season AutoNation has presented the award. Members of the FWAA All-America Committee decide the weekly honor. Each remaining Monday during the 2015 college football regular season, the FWAA will name a National Team of the Week. Members of the FWAA All-America Committee decide the weekly honor.
AutoNation is also the presenting sponsor of the FWAA’s national offensive and defensive players of the week announced each Tuesday, the 2015 FWAA All-America Team and the 75th Anniversary FWAA All-America Team. The 2015 AutoNation FWAA All-America Team will be announced at the AutoNation Cure Bowl on Dec. 19.
2015 AutoNation National Teams of the Week
• Weekend of Sept. 5: Temple Owls
• Weekend of Sept. 12: Toledo Rockets