With the victory, NIU (7-3, 6-0 MAC) needs to win just one of their final two games (against either Miami or WMU) to lock in their spot in the MAC Championship. Toledo’s loss has now eliminated them from title contention.
The Rockets (5-5. 3-3 MAC) struck first in the game, a 25-yard field goal, on their first possession. After a Huskie fumble, Toledo had another opportunity to score early but Jameson Vest pulled his second field goal attempt wide left, keeping the score 3-0.
As the first quarter was coming to a close, Marcus Childers hit tight end Corey Lersch on a crossing route, who then rumbled 33 yards for the first Huskie touchdown. The Huskies would tack on three more on their next possession when Andrew Gantz was true on a 49-yard field goal.
Toledo would keep it close on their next possession with a 23-yard TD pass from Eli Peters to Jon’Vea Johnson but the Rockets would miss the extra point, giving NIU a narrow 10-9 lead.
And, from there, it would be all NIU as the Huskies would score 21 unanswered points. Sutton Smith blocked a punt and then returned it 27-yards for a score, Childers would run in a 1-yard QB keeper, and, then in the fourth quarter, he’d keep it again for a 23-yard TD run.
Toledo would strike late with a 1-yard Shakif Seymour run but get stuffed on the 2-point conversion to make it 31-15.
However, the Huskies weren’t done yet either as, on their very next play, Marcus Jones took a hand-off and scampered 43 yards for another NIU score, bumping it to a 23-point lead, 38-15.
The Huskies defense was able to get pressure on Peters all night, forcing 5 sacks and a fumble, and really limited the Rocket normally-explosive receivers.
Total yards: 431 (264 passing, 167 rushing)
Peters: 24/47, 264 yards, 1 TD, 10 carries, 27 yards
Art Thompkins: 12 carries, 62 yards
Cody Thompson: 8 catches, 112 yards
Johnson: 4 catches, 54 yards, 1 TD
Total yards: 427 (131 passing, 296 rushing)
Childers: 13/19, 131 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 10 carries, 58 yards, 2 TDs
Tre Harbison: 21 carries, 139 yards
Jones: 11 carries, 101 yards, 1 TD
Kyle Pugh: 8 tackle, 2 TFL, sack
Sutton Smith: 1 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, forced fumble, blocked punt, TD
Next week Toledo is back in action on Thursday, November 15th when the Rockets head to Kent State where they’ll look to become bowl eligible.
The Huskies will play their final home game of 2018 next Wednesday when the Miami RedHawks travel to DeKalb. A win clinches the MAC West for NIU and sends them to the MAC Championship Game.