Quinton Maxwell couldn't head for the locker room just yet. He had a stop to make.
Maxwell headed straight for the first row of bleacher seats behind the bench, where two people waited for him. His family.
The redshirt freshman quarterback had to celebrate. The subjects were irrelevant. Maxwell was by no means perfect, but for the Bobcats, he was good enough as Ohio beat Toledo 31-26 on Thursday in the Glass Bowl. Hugs were given all around.
“In that locker room, it’s a pretty great atmosphere," Maxwell said. "Lot of guys hugging, lot of guys who have worked all summer, all fall camp for a moment like this, it’s incredible. It feels great to bring this win back.”
The Bobcat that was close to perfection, however, was running back Dorian Brown. Brown rushed for 212 yards on 29 carries. He ran for one touchdown and averaged 7.3 yards per attempt.
“I want to give a shoutout to all my O-line, tight ends, everyone on the offense," Brown said. "Eleven guys did great. The blocking was great. My job was easy, the holes were wide open.”
It was the first win for Ohio (6-3, 4-1 Mid-American Conference) against Toledo since 1988, and the first win in Toledo since 1967. The jubilation and pure joy was palpable in the Bobcats' locker room as the team sang and danced into the night.
“This is a special win," coach Frank Solich said. "That feeling is there for our players, for our coaches and I hope its there for our fans.”
The win means the Bobcats have reached bowl eligibility for the eighth-straight season. In 14 of the 16 seasons for Solich as a head coach at Ohio and Nebraska, he has led his teams to bowl eligibility.
The win was also Solich's first win against Toledo (6-2, 3-1 MAC) in his time as Ohio coach.
“This team is amazing," Solich said. "They’ve got a lot of heart and a lot of fight, never quit. Loved the way they played the game and prepared to play the game.”
The win has already sent shockwaves across the conference — Toledo was 6-1 heading into the game, and widely considered the only team able to compete with No. 20 Western Michigan.
Ohio was a two-touchdown underdog against Toledo.
“We’ve been underdogs, haven’t beaten them ... that’s a long time," Brown said. "We wanted to make history, we all did as a team. It was a great night for everybody.”
The defense held the high-powered Rockets offense in check for the majority of the first half, keeping Toledo off the board for long enough that the Ohio offense could build up enough of a cushion. It seemed when the offense failed, the defense was there to save the day. And when the defense failed, the offense was opportunistic.
“It shows the resolve of this team," Maxwell said. "It shows the hard work of this team. I love each one of those guys in the locker room. It was a true team effort, for us to be as good of underdogs as we were, coming in here and getting this win was huge. Everyone in that locker room knew what we were about, knew what we could do.”
For all the statistical meaning that the win has brought the Bobcats, it still hasn't sunk in. Some can't even describe it.
“I hugged everybody," Brown said. "It was a great moment, a great experience. They’re really a good team. I can’t explain it, for real.”