For the first time this season, Eastern Michigan University starting running back Bronson Hill did not play a full game as they fell to the University of Toledo 55-16 at the Glass Bowl.
“[It was a] coach’s decision,” EMU head coach Ron English said on sitting Hill.
The loss was EMU’s eighth straight and fifth in the Mid-American Conference, dropping its conference record to 0-5, last in the MAC West. The Eagles are now 1-8 overall.
The Rockets (6-3, 4-1 MAC) became bowl eligible for the fourth season in a row. The win also holds them in second place in the MAC West, remaining a contender for the division title.
After losing his starting spot last week, Eagles redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Benz was under center for the first few drives of the game. His first pass attempt was an 18-yard completion to junior tight end Tyreese Russell and would be his only completion as he went 1-for-5.
True freshman Brogan Roback, who returned to his hometown, came in at quarterback with 5:21 left in the first quarter and stayed in for the rest of the game. He went 11-for-22 with two passing touchdowns and an interception. The TD’s were the first of his career.
“Brogan’s just getting his feet wet,” English said.
Junior running back Ryan Brumfield started for the Eagles in place of Hill, leading the team in rushing with 17 carries for 67 yards. He had a three-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter.
UT put together the most total yards it has all season with 729.
“We seemed to make some errors early. We blew a couple of coverages and our rotations weren’t right,” English said in regard to defense.
Senior quarterback Terrence Owens threw for 375 passing yards, the most since he threw 401 against the Eagles last season. He was 18-for-24 passing with three TD’s and a quarterback-rating of 247.5.
With starting back David Fluellen out with his leg injury from last week, freshman backup Kareem Hunt led the Rockets rushing game taking 20 touches for 168 yards and two TD’s. Both were game-highs for him.
Freshmen Damion Jones-Moore and Marc Remy also helped the running game with seven carries for 67 yards and ten for 58, respectively. They also had a rushing TD each.
The Rockets scored 21 straight points within 4:02 in the first quarter, starting out with a seven-yard TD pass by Owens to sophomore tight end Alex Zmolik with 9:23 left in the quarter.
Owens connected to junior wide receiver Dwight Macon less than two minutes later for a 47-yard touchdown pass and Jones-Moore scored on a 30-yard run to put UT ahead 21-0 after the PAT.
The TD catches by Zmolik and Macon were their only receptions of the game.
Hunt ran in a touchdown from two yards out 37 seconds into the second quarter with the help of his offensive line driving through EMU’s line to put the Rockets up 28-0.
Following a 41-yard field goal from Eagles’ sophomore place kicker Dylan Mulder, Hunt ran up the middle slipping through several EMU defenders for 39 yards, giving UT a 35-3 lead.
Sophomore wide receiver Dustin Creel helped EMU answer by making a leaping grab in the end zone off a throw by Roback for a TD from 16-yards out to make the game 35-10 after the PAT.
Creel led the team with six receptions for 115 yards.
“He’s going to be a really good football player at this level,” English said. “He’s a tough guy. He knows what he’s doing.”
A 20-yard field goal from Rockets kicker Jeremiah Detmer gave UT a 38-10 lead at halftime.
Another 20-yarder from Detmer in the third quarter was followed by and 80-yard TD pass by Owens to junior receiver Justin Olack to bump the lead up to 48-10 with 5:57 left in the third.
Olack led UT in receiving with four receptions for 110 yards.
Remy’s nine-yard touchdown run with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter was the last score of the game.
Hill missed his first game since week four of the 2012 season at Michigan State University.
UT beat EMU for the seventh time in a row, the longest winning streak for either team in the all-time series.
The Rockets led in time of possession with 34:50 to EMU’s 25:10.
Follow Derrick Vergolini on Twitter @derrickvergo.