It was a record setting day at the Glass Bowl as the UT Rockets soared to their second straight victory, 54-16 over Eastern Michigan.
Springfield alum Eric Page came into Saturday's game just six receptions shy of breaking Stephen Williams' school record of 229. He broke it quickly. On a first quarter drive, Terrance Owens hit Page for a first down giving him number 230 and moving him into first all-time. In Page's typical, hard working fashion, he picked himself up and walked off the field as the Rockets prepared for their next play.
The crowd, on the other hand, gave the junior wide receiver a round of applause as the news of the record was announced over the loud speaker.
"It's a great record, it was set by a great player, Stephen Williams, and he taught me everything I know. As a freshman he was a senior, so it just goes out to him and the coaches and all the other players on the team," Page said after the game. He also brought the crowd to their feet with an 85 yard punt return for a touchdown in the 2nd quarter, his first punt return for a touchdown this season. Overall, Page caught 11 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown to go along with 124 total return yards and the one score.
Head coach Tim Beckman praised Page's versatility and joked about his knack for breaking records.
"He's a broken record." Beckman said as he laughed. "He keeps on doing them. He's a fabulous football player, there's no question about it and as I always mention, he's a team football player and he'll try to do it any way we possibly can do it from returns for touchdowns or touchdown catches or throwing touchdowns or running touchdowns...he's done a fabulous job of being a team football player."
"Eric does an unbelievable job, probably the best change of direction I've seen out of a player. He's got unbelievable talent and...it shows with him...now the all-time [leader in] receptions in Toledo history," said quarterback Austin Dantin.
Page wasn't the only Rocket player to set a record on the afternoon. Terrance Owens was 13-14 passing, the 93% efficiency is a school record for a quarterback. Dantin was no slouch himself, going 14-16. Combined the duo went 27-30 for 302 yards and four touchdowns.
It wasn't all good news for Toledo, three key players left the game injured. Perrysburg alum, defensive end T.J. Fatinikun hurt his elbow in the first half and did not return. Safety Jermaine Robinson left with a broken hand. And tight end Danny Noble broke his right fibula near his foot when he came down awkwardly while trying to make a catch in the third.
"He's out...Hopefully not the rest of the year. It was definitely a fracture," said coach Beckman in regards to Noble's injury.
Clyde alum Alex Gillett had an up and down day for Eastern Michigan. The quarterback was hounded all day by the Rocket defense, getting sacked three times while throwing two picks. He did have one touchdown pass, a 22 yard fade to Kinsman Thomas in the second to pull the Eagles within 12. On the ensuing extra point, one of the rarest plays in college football occurred as UT blocked the kick and senior Desmond Marrow scooped it up and took it all the way to the opposite end zone for two points for Toledo.
The Rockets are now 3-3 overall and 2-0 in the MAC. Next up is a trip down I-75 and a visit with Bowling Green(3-3, 1-1). The Falcons' trip to Kalamazoo on Saturday didn't go so well. Western Michigan scored 31 unanswered points to break a 14-14 tie, en route to blowing out BG 45-21.
It's a noon kickoff next Saturday at Doyt L. Perry Stadium for the annual 'Battle for the Peace Pipe."
Were you at the game on Saturday? What do you think of a Springfield's Eric Page setting the record? Will you be at the UT-BG game next Saturday?