The RedHawks (11-2) last won the MAC title in 2019, when they beat Central Michigan. It is the first time Miami has won 11 games in a season since 2003, and it did so by frustrating a respected Toledo running game that was held to 97 yards on 29 attempts.
“Our rush defense is pretty damn good,” Miami coach Chuck Martin said in his postgame, on-field interview. “It was a great challenge … but our offense did just enough to get it done.”
The Rockets (11-2) were attempting to become the first Toledo team to win 12 straight games for the first time since 1971.
Following a 40-yard field goal by Nicholson at the start of the third quarter, Dequan Finn gave Toledo its only lead of the game with a 3-yard run. Nicholson put Toledo in front for good 16-14 at the beginning of the fourth quarter when he made another 40-yarder, and Amos sealed the win when he ran 10 yards for a touchdown with 2:41 left.
Miami took a 10-0 lead on a 32-yard field goal by Nicholson and a 1-yard run by Amos. The scoring run was set up by a targeting call against Kiel Eldridge, who hit Smith on a third-and-13 play from the Toledo 16 with 1:25 seconds left in the first quarter.
Toledo scored 9 seconds before halftime on Finn’s 13-yard pass to Anthony Torres. The pair also connected on the 2-point conversion to pull the Rockets within two.
“The rhythm of the game never got going,” Toledo coach Jason Candle said. “We would get ourselves ahead of the sticks. We’d get a costly penalty to push us back. When you’re behind the sticks and you’re in a long yardage situation, advantage defense.”
Nicholson, who has made a field goal in all 13 games this season, saw his streak of made kicks end when his 48-yarder was wide left with 5:58 left in the third quarter. The MAC Special Teams Player of the Year had made all 25 of his field goal attempts before the miss.
Nicholson is a finalist for Lou Groza Award, which recognizes the nation’s top placekicker.
The Rockets and RedHawks will find out their bowl destinations Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.