TOLEDO, Ohio — Lockport native David Fluellen, the Mid-American Conference’s second-leading rusher, sat out Tuesday night’s nationally televised game against UB as he continues to recover from injury.
This was the second straight game Fluellen has missed since suffering a Achilles injury in an Oct. 26 game at Bowling Green. A senior, Fluellen entered the week ranked second in the MAC in rushing yards to UB’s Brandan Oliver.
Rockets coach Matt Campbell had been saying for at least a week that Fluellen’s status would be a game-time decision. The former Lockport High star is considered in some circles among the top five senior running backs available in this year’s draft. The expectation is he will go in a late round or sign as an undrafted free agent.
Toledo will lose Fluellen, quarterback Terrance Owens and star receiver Bernard Reedy after this season but don’t expect the program to stumble backward. Freshman Kareem Hunt impressed again at running back Tuesday night, sophomore Alonzo Russell is solid at wideout and the quarterback-in-waiting is Phillip Ely, who transferred out of Alabama over the summer. He had been listed as co-No. 2 on the depth chart behind Tide starter AJ McCarron.
The Rockets also returned everyone on the offensive line except center/NFL prospect Zac Kerin and nine of 11 players on defense.
UB turned the ball over twice, once on a series of desperation pitches late in the first half and once when Oliver was stripped late in the third quarter.
It was Oliver’s first true fumble this season. The fumble was caused by defensive end Jayrone Elliott, marking the fourth time in six games he’s separated an opponent from the ball.
Oliver finished with 102 yards on the ground after managing just 24 in the first half, He carried 24 times.
UB punter Tyler Grassman is an athlete, as he showed in retreating to chase down an errant snap in the second quarter. Grassman recovered the ball and, under duress, got off a rugby-style kicked that resulted in a net 31 yards. He kicked it from about 30 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Khalil Mack went into the final three games of the season needing one forced fumble for a six-way share of the NCAA career mark of 14. Mack also remains on track to take a run at the NCAA mark for career tackles for loss. He went into Tuesday with 67.5 in 42 career games, good for third all-time. The record of 75 by Western Michigan’s Jason Babin was set in 47 games. No. 2 on the list, George Selvie of South Florida, produced 69 TFL in 52 games.
Mack was a whirlwind. He tied his career high with 15 tackles, two of them for losses, and was credited with one quarterback hurry.
NFL organizations continue to take keen stock. Scouts from six NFL teams requested seats for the game, including two each from Arizona and Cleveland. Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim was among those in attendance.
UB went 8 for 8 on second-half third-down conversions after a 3-for-11 first half. ... The Bulls were without running back James Potts (shoulder) and remained without linebacker Adam Redden (knee). Running back Devin Campbell played after missing last week’s win over Ohio with an ailing back. ... The MAC’s uneven division breakdowns (seven teams in the East, six in the West) can create some scheduling peculiarities. This was UB’s first game in Toledo since 1995. The Bulls have never won here. ... Joe Licata remains one of only two MAC quarterbacks to have thrown for a touchdown in every game. Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois is the other.