Rapid reaction: Football 27, Toledo Rockets 24


Redshirt sophomore quarterback Drew Hare (12) carries the ball during his 78-yard touchdown run on the Huskies’ first series of the game. The Huskies ran for 332 yards while passing for only 54 yards Saturday at Rynearson Stadium in Ypsilanti, Mich., against the Eastern Michigan Eagles.

By Frank Gogola

What happened: The Huskies (8-2, 5-1 MAC) beat the Toledo Rockets (6-4, 5-1 MAC) for the fifth-straight season, 27-24, Tuesday at Huskie Stadium.

How it happened: The NIU offense jumped to a 10-0 lead 10 minutes into the first quarter as the defense forced Toledo into a trio of 3 & outs to open the game. Freshman kicker Christian Hagan made a 37-yard field goal, and redshirt senior wide receiver Da’Ron Brown registered a 64-yard, catch-and-run touchdown from redshirt sophomore quarterback Drew Hare.

The Rockets responded with their own 10-0 run, tying the game 10-10 with 5:22 left in the first half. Jeremiah Detmer nailed a 21-yard field goal, and wide receiver Dwight Macon connected with wide receiver Corey Jones for a 69-yard touchdown on his first pass of the game.

NIU closed out first-half scoring when Hagan drilled a 19-yard field goal with 1:36 to play.

The Huskies opened the scoring in the second half, going up 20-10. Redshirt senior tailback Cameron Stingily punched in a 4-yard touchdown 5:42 into the third quarter, capping off a drive highlighted by a 61-yard run from Brown.

The Rockets answered with a 1-yard touchdown run by Macon on the ensuing drive, cutting the Huskies’ lead to 20-17 midway through the third quarter.

Stingily added a 2-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter to push NIU’s lead to 27-17. After a pair of turnovers on downs, the Rockets would go away, cutting NIU’s lead to 27-24 as Macon scooted into the end zone from 3 yards out.

The 27-24 score held after the Huskies recovered an onside kick and the Rockets’ multiple-lateral play with the clock expiring didn’t get them past midfield.

What it means: The Huskies own the inside track to the MAC Championship game. They’ll play for the MAC title for the fifth-straight season if they beat the Ohio Bobcats Tuesday and the Western Michigan Broncos Nov. 28.

Three stars:

3. Toledo wide receiver Dwight Macon: 8-11 for 140 passing yards and one touchdown; 18 rushes for 97 yards and two touchdowns

2. Redshirt senior wide receiver Da’Ron Brown: Three receptions for 73 yards and one touchdown; two carries for 64 yards

1. Redshirt senior tailback Cameron Stingily: 21 carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns; third-straight game with multiple touchdowns

Up next: The Huskies close out the regular with back-to-back road games. They take on the Ohio Bobcats 7 p.m. Tuesday in Athens, Ohio.