Toledo mixes potent potion in Glass Bowl

By Tom Clegg

TOLEDO—Anyone who watched host Toledo rack up 30 second-half points in its victory over NIU Saturday night knows what happened. The Huskies couldn’t stop the Rockets and the Rockets stopped the Huskies. Simple.

Though the Rockets entered the game anywhere from seven- to 21-point underdogs, by the time the final cannon blast sounded—that thing goes off even when the Rockets miss extra points—it was clear that the better team had won.

Toledo couldn’t have been the better team. The Huskies were 4-1 and Toledo was 1-4. The Huskies were talking about a 10-1 season. A trip to a bowl game was a definite possibility. Just last week NIU fans were throwing fruit onto the Huskie Stadium field and chanting, “Citrus Bowl!”

What happened?

No, the Huskies weren’t overrated. They proved to themselves at Minnesota that they could beat any team on their schedule.

Maybe there was more to NIU’s 33-20 loss than just what happened on the field. Call it the Glass Bowl hex or call it bad luck, but there must be some unexplained phenomenon that has allowed Toledo to beat NIU eight straight times on the Rockets’ home turf.

For anyone who has never seen this man-made wonder of the world called the Glass Bowl, picture a medieval stone fortress built to keep out marauding hordes of Liliputians.

Further protected by its aforementioned toy cannon, the Toledo edifice presents a problem to any opponent—once they see the Glass Bowl, they can’t take the Rockets seriously.

But for the first 30 minutes Saturday, NIU seemed to have overcome this problem, jumping out to a 13-3 lead. Inevitably, the Huskies became aware of their surroundings and that was that.

A snap from center sailed over an NIU punter’s head, a sure-handed Huskie kick returner mishandled a punt and second-string Toledo halfback ran wild through the NIU defense (and through the end zone right into the crowd).

When you get right down to it, Toledo outplayed NIU and deserved to win. The Glass Bowl didn’t do in the Huskies, the Rockets did.