MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Sophomore running back Saylor Lavallii ran for a career-high 144 yards and a touchdown Saturday afternoon, but Central Michigan was unable to overcome four turnovers in a 38-17 loss to Toledo.
Toledo running back David Fluellen rushed for 197 yards and two scores to help the Rockets down the Chippewas in the MAC opener for both teams at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
With his second rushing touchdown of the day with 5:02 remaining in the fourth quarter, Fluellen effectively put the game out of reach for the Chippewas by putting Toledo up 38-17.
Rockets quarterback Terrance Owens took over for true freshman starter Logan Woodside in the second quarter, and finished 13-for-17 passing for 139 yards and a three-yard touchdown strike to Alonzo Russell.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Cooper Rush, making just his second collegiate start, threw for 214 yards and a touchdown for the Chippewas. He was 14-for-24 passing in the contest, but the Rockets scored 21 points off four Chippewas turnovers.
Junior receiver Titus Davis caught five balls for 76 yards. With 2,015 receiving yards for his career, Davis moved into eighth place in the CMU record book, surpassing John DeBoer (1,975) and Matt Means (2,004).
The Chippewas appeared ready to make a comeback after a one-yard touchdown run by Saylor Lavalli pulled them within seven points of the Rockets, 21-14, after which the teams traded field goals to keep the deficit at seven headed into the fourth quarter. However, the Rockets took a 14-point lead on a 15-yard scamper by Damion Jones-Moore with 13 minutes left in the game.
The Chippewas would take their next possession deep into Toledo territory but a fumble by Rush on a Toledo sack gave the Rockets possession. UT then marched down the field and went up by a score of 38-17
Lavalli set his personal best in rushing on a career high 24 carries, for a 6.0 yards per rush average. His touchdown was his third of the season.
Junior linebacker Justin Cherocci tied a career high with 15 tackles and a fumble recovery to lead the CMU defense.
With the win, Toledo improved to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in the MAC. The loss dropped the Chippewas to 1-3 on the season (0-1 MAC).
The Chippewas will square off against ACC foe North Carolina State next Saturday in Raleigh, N.C. The game is set to kickoff at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.