WASHINGTON D.C. – The Military Bowl has not been kind to college football’s service academy teams. Four years after Navy dropped the inaugural Military Bowl to Wake Forest, Air Force’s efforts came up just short against Toledo. Air Force’s two-point conversion attempt with under a minute to play failed to catch Toledo off-guard, and ultimately cost the Falcons the game as Toledo hung on for a wild 42-41 victory in the nation’s capital.
After combing for 56 points in the first half, Toledo and Air Force somewhat slowed down in the second half as the game become a bit more about field possession. The teams traded scores, with Toledo striking first in the third quarter with a 37-yard interception return by Jermaine Robinson to give the Rockets the lead. Air Force responded with a touchdown of their own and the game started to build an overtime feel heading in to the fourth quarter.
At least, for those who have not watched any MAC games this season. In typical MAC fashion Toledo took the lead on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Terrance Owens to Bernard Reedy with five minutes to play. Air Force, down to their last breath on fourth and three from the Toledo 30-yard line, connected on a Tim Jefferson pass to Zack Kauth for a late touchdown. After lining up for an extra point attempt Air Force attempted to fake Toledo out for a two-point conversion, going for the win. But the Rockets were not rattled and kept the Falcons out of the end zone on the decisive play. After Toledo recovered an onside kick attempt by Air Force, the Rockets were able to run the clock out for the final 51 seconds.
For Toledo, the wait for a bowl victory is finally over. After losing in the Little Caesars Bowl last season, Toledo picked up their first bowl win since the 2005 GMAC Bowl. It is also the first bowl victory by a MAC team in the Military Bowl (Temple was the last representative in 2009). The loss snapped Air Force’s two-game bowl winning streak. The service academies are now 0-2 in the Military Bowl. Army has yet to play in the game.
The Armed Forces Bowl, which will be played on December 30, does not feature a service academy this season. Air Force and Army are a combined 2-2 in the bowl game. Navy has not played in the game since its inception in 2003.
The combined 83 points between Toledo and Air Force set a new Military Bowl record. Last year Maryland and East Carolina combined for 71 points. The teams also combined for a total of 746 yards of offense, with an additional 960 yards of special teams yardage.
Fourth Time’s A Charm
Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson played in his fourth bowl game during his collegiate career, but for the first time he completed a touchdown pass in postseason action.
Jefferson’s 37-yard touchdown strike to Jonathan Warzeka in the third quarter was his first bowl game touchdown pass. He ended the game with two touchdown passes.
Conference Bowl Update
The MAC now owns the most bowl wins this postseason, improving to 3-1 a day after Western Michigan fell short against the Big Ten’s Purdue. The Mountain West Conference dropped to 2-3 with wins by TCU and Boise State.
Military Bowl Attendance: 25,042
The Military Bowl posted their second lowest crowd in the four-year history of the bowl game. The game figured to have a lower turnout from last season when Maryland was playing in the game against another east coast team, East Carolina, and it did. This year’s game brought in about 13,000 fewer fans than last year’s game but still managed to do better than the year before when Temple played UCLA, who traveled across country for the game.
Kevin is a national college football writer for lodeplus.com and the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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