Archive for Saturday, December 1, 2001

Rockets claim MAC championship

December 1, 2001


— Marshall was all but sizing up its fifth Mid-American Conference championship ring when Toledo's Chester Taylor got started.

Taylor ran for 188 yards and two touchdowns as Toledo overcame an early 23-point deficit to beat No. 20 Marshall, 41-36, on Friday night in the MAC title game.

"We just had to keep getting him the ball. We knew something would happen," Toledo coach Tom Amstutz said.

After falling behind 23-0 and finishing the half at 23-10, Toledo scored on its first four possessions of the second half to take a 35-29 lead.

Taylor, who had just 36 yards in the first half, scored on an 8-yard run with 6:34 left to put the Rockets (9-3) ahead for the final time.

It was Toledo's first win in the MAC title game in three tries and ended Marshall's streak of four straight titles.

The way Toledo finally took the lead was surprising. Place-kicker Todd France set up for a field goal, but instead took a handoff from holder Tavares Bolden, and ran untouched 16 yards into the end zone.

"I thought when I called the play I might be the biggest nut in America," Amstutz said.

Neither offense could be stopped in the second half as the lead changed hands three times in the fourth quarter.

Byron Leftwich finished 32-of-52 for 420 yards and one interception for Marshall (10-1), which has secured a spot in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Dec. 19. Toledo will play in the Motor City Bowl on Dec. 29 in Pontiac, Mich.

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