DETROIT – Bruce Gradkowski threw three of his four touchdown passes to Lance Moore, leading Toledo to a 35-27 win over Miami (Ohio) in the Mid-American Conference championship game Thursday night.
Toledo (9-3) will return to Ford Field to face Connecticut on Dec. 27 in the Motor City Bowl. The RedHawks (8-4) will play in either the Silicon Valley Classic or the Independence Bowl.
For the fourth year in a row, a quarterback threw four TDs in the MAC title game. Ben Roethlisberger did it last year for the RedHawks, and Byron Leftwich did it for Marshall the two previous years.
Gradkowski, who left the game briefly with a hand injury, was 18 of 24 for 251 yards with four TDs and one interception. Moore had five receptions for 118 yards and caught three touchdown passes for the third time in his career.
The Rockets trailed 14-7 at halftime and rallied with three TDs in the third quarter. Toledo went ahead 35-20 early in the fourth on Moore’s third score.
Miami pulled within eight points when Josh Betts followed up a 57-yard pass to Michael Larkin with a 13-yard TD pass to Josh Williams with 4 minutes, 13 seconds left. Toledo sealed the win with two third-down conversions on the final drive.
The MAC had its championship game on a neutral field after the previous seven were hosted by one of the teams in the finals. The announced crowd was 22,138 at the home of the Detroit Lions.
Toledo’s Steve Odom made six catches for 78 yards and a score. Scooter McDougle provided balance for Toledo’s offense with 167 yards rushing on 35 carries.
Betts was 20 of 33 for 304 yards with three TDs and two interceptions. Larkin had nine receptions for 131 yards and a score.
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