Football notches signature win


Redshirt senior tailback Cameron Stingily rushes down the field Tuesday at Huskie Stadium against the Toledo Rockets. The Huskies used two second-half touchdowns from Stingily to help secure a significant victory in the MAC standings.

By Frank Gogola

Football did more in its win over the Toledo Rockets than position itself on the inside track to play in the MAC Championship game: It showed this year’s team deserves to make what has become an annual trek to Detroit.

The Huskies (8-2, 5-1 MAC) showed they were capable of grinding out a win against a tough team under the lights, beating the Rockets (6-4, 5-1 MAC), 27-24, Tuesday at Huskie Stadium.

On paper, the three-point victory over Toledo is tied for the tightest win the Huskies have earned this season. It is also arguably the toughest-to-earn win of the Huskies’ eight victories this season as the game came down to the final play, when the Rockets’ slew of laterals was stopped before it could get past midfield.

“We got a lot of big wins, and I think we take them all the same,” said senior defensive end Jason Meehan. “You have 24 hours to celebrate and be happy about it, and then you move on to the next team. I don’t think we place a value on wins. Toledo’s always a big game for us, and of course this one is bigger than most. But, once it’s over we go to the next week … .”

The Huskies also showed their ability to adapt on the spot as they were forced to contain a literal dual-threat player in quarterback Dwight Macon. Macon is listed as a wide receiver on the Rockets’ roster, but he played quarterback in high school.

Macon came in after Michael Julian left with a concussion and Logan Woodside, who suffered an injury in Toledo’s previous game, couldn’t move around too well. He put on quite a performance, completing eight of his 11 pass attempts for 140 yards and running the ball 18 times for 97 yards and two touchdowns. He gave himself a “C-” for his performance.

“Yeah, we didn’t know he played quarterback,” said head coach Rod Carey. “They did a good job of holding that in all week. … All of a sudden [Macon’s] in there, and you’re kind of holding onto your rear end there for a little bit. We adjusted on the fly, and [I’m] proud of the defensive coaches and the defensive players.”

But, the Huskies had a number of mishaps. Sophomore wide receiver Aregeros Turner caught a 39-yard pass from redshirt sophomore quarterback Drew Hare, but Turner stumbled at the 2-yard line. The Huskies couldn’t punch in the ball for a touchdown and had to settle for a field goal.

Da’Ron Brown, redshirt senior wide receiver, had a 51-yard touchdown called back because of a pass interference penalty on junior tight end Desroy Maxwell.

Hare took a sack at the end of the third quarter that forced the Huskies out of field goal range.

You can’t expect a team to play a completely flawless game, right? But, the Huskies made plays when they needed to.

Whether it was forcing two turnovers on downs, holding Toledo to 4-15 on third downs, recovering the onside kick after the Rockets got within 27-24, converting a 4th & 5 deep in Toledo territory that led to the winning touchdown or true freshman kicker Christian Hagan making his first two career field goals, the Huskies made key plays on all sides of the ball to grind out the win.

“Any time you can beat a team of Toledo’s caliber it’s a good win,” Carey said. “I think all three phases took their turns making critical plays in critical moments. I’m really proud of the team and the guys. You saw the emotion out there that they played with; it was great.”

The Huskies needed a win to keep alive their MAC Championship game hopes, but what they got was a win that not only kept them in control of their own destiny for another week but also showed their resolve as a potential championship team.