Red zone defensive stand gives Toledo win over Huskies

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) -- Toledo's Greg Hay batted down a fourth-down pass in the end zone on the game's final play as the Rockets stopped a last-ditch Northern Illinois drive and beat the Huskies 17-13 in the fog Tuesday night.

Hay broke up Phil Horvath's pass to Britt Davis to preserve Toledo's victory.

Northern Illinois (5-5, 3-3) was aided by two pass interference penalties on the final drive, the second one giving the Huskies a first-and-goal on the Toledo (4-6, 2-4) 2 with 28 seconds left.

But after two incomplete passes and a no gain on a third-down run by Garrett Wolfe, the Huskies had to hurry to get off a final play and Hay stepped in to prevent the touchdown.

Toledo quarterback Aaron Opelt threw for one touchdown and rushed for another, while halfback Jalen Parmele carried 31 times for 131 yards.

Northern Illinois took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards in 10 plays, with Horvath hitting wide receiver Marcus Perez with a five-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.

On the Huskies next possession though, Horvath was hit by Toledo linebacker Steven Morrison, causing a fumble that was recovered by Toledo linebacker Eric Heller. The Rockets tied the game four plays later, on a 3-yard pass from Opelt to wide receiver Steve Odom.

Toledo took a 10-7 lead after one quarter, when Alex Steigerwald kicked a 30-yard field goal. The fog moved in quickly in the second quarter, which had fans moving down from the upper reaches of the stands to see the game.

The Rockets added to its second quarter margin, when Opelt scored on a six-yard run for a 17-7 lead. Northern Illinois closed out the half with a 30-yard field by Chris Nendick, to cut Toledos advantage to 17-10.

Wolfe, who leads the nation in rushing (1,533 yards), was held to 54 yards on 16 carries, his fourth straight game under 100 yards. He had just 11 yards on eight carries after the first quarter.

After throwing a first-quarter interception, Horvath was replaced by back-up Dan Nicholson. Nicholson struggled as well, completing only seven passes in 20 attempts for 45 yards.

Horvath, who finished 13-for-27 for 199 yards, returned in the fourth quarter and guided the Huskies to a field goal, as Nendicks 44-yarder brought Northern Illinois to within 17-13 with 8:23 remaining.