Northern Illinois crashes Toledo's CFP rankings party

Toledo undefeated no more

QB Phillip Ely is picked off twice and No. 24 Toledo suffers its first loss of the season, falling to Northern Illinois 32-27.

The ranking came out just before kickoff. By the time the game ended on Tuesday night, for all intents and purposes it was gone -- right along with Toledo's chances at making history. The Rockets appeared at No. 24 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, but Northern Illinois brought them crashing back to earth with a hard-fought, fourth-quarter comeback in a 32-27 win at the Glass Bowl. The Mid-American Conference race is once again wide open, but the league's champion doesn't figure to be in line to finish as the highest-rated team from a Group of 5 conference. What the win means for Northern Illinois: The chance to ruin the season for one unbeaten came up short in September at Ohio State. The Huskies made the most of another opportunity to burst a bubble, spoiling Toledo's celebration on the heels of securing a spot in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. Northern Illinois had been somewhat of a hard-luck loser so far this season, with all of its defeats coming by 10 points or less, but it broke through in a big way on the road in a crucial division matchup.

What the loss means for Toledo: The dreams of crashing the postseason party as the highest-ranked team from a Group of 5 conference ended just hours after they became a legitimate possibility. Northern Illinois remains Toledo's personal tormentor, winning for the sixth straight time in the series and this time inflicting even more damage than normal with stakes that went well beyond the Mid-American Conference race. The Rockets aren't out of the running in the league, but the chance to play in a marquee bowl game is gone. Player of the game: The Huskies needed two quarterbacks to make it through the game, but having Kenny Golladay to throw to certainly took some of the pressure off. The Northern Illinois wide receiver was a nightmare for the Toledo secondary, making eight catches for 128 yards, including a highlight-reel, one-handed touchdown catch that spurred the comeback down the stretch. Top play: The officials needed another look before Golladay's ridiculous grab in the corner of the end zone held up under closer inspection. Given the high degree of difficulty and the situation with Northern Illinois trying to rally to stay alive in the MAC's West Division race, no play could top his grab in the victory.