Toledo's Jalen Parmele avoided Ohio defenders all night, rushing for a career-best 241 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The gracious Ohio Bobcats arrived at the Glass Bowl with gifts last night.
The Bobcats presented the ball, just about any time the University of Toledo wanted it.
The Rockets beat Ohio 43-40, forcing eight turnovers in their third victory of the year. The last one was the biggest. With 26 seconds left UT's Greg Harris recovered a muffed punt by Chris Garrett, setting up a 40-yard field goal try by sophomore Alex Steigerwald.
Steigerwald nailed the ball through the uprights with two seconds left and teammates mobbed him on the field.
"When you're a kicker that's what you look for, to win the game in the last seconds of the game," Steigerwald said. "I was glad to have a chance to win."
Toledo s Derrick Summers grabs the jersey of Ohio s Kalvin McRae during second-quarter action at the Glass Bowl.
The UT defense forced more than half as many turnovers last night as in its first seven games. The Rockets came into the game with 13 forced turnovers in their first seven games. Entering the contest UT had intercepted just three passes. The Rockets had four interceptions last night.
But despite all that charity from the Bobcats, the Rockets didn't take control of the game until tailback Jalen Parmele started getting more involved in the offense. When he did, it was a different game.
Parmele rushed for a career-high 241 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries, the third-best single-game effort in UT history. He had 194 yards after halftime. The offense held the ball for more than 35 minutes and scored 37 points in the second half.
For all that Parmele did, his goal-line fumble with 2:52 remaining gave the Bobcats their chance to tie the game.
"I had the ball kind of loose," Parmele said. "I knew I should have kept the ball in and play it smart. It was a bad mistake on my part."
Rockets quarterback Aaron Opelt is sacked by Ohio s Kris Luchsinger. Opelt was 19 of 39 for 204 yards with one TD.
The Bobcats took advantage and needed just 1:07 to drive 93 yards, backup quarterback Theo Scott finding tight end Andrew Mooney for a 36-yard touchdown pass with 1:45 left. Ohio converted on the two-point conversion to tie the game at 40.
The Rockets tried to drive down the field but were stopped at their 37 and had to punt. But given another chance, they converted.
UT improved to 3-5, 1-3 in the Mid-American Conference. The Bobcats fell to 3-5, 1-3.
Sophomore Stephen Williams had another good game with eight catches for 107 yards. Nick Moore returned from a hand injury to catch six passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. The Rockets withstood 182 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Ohio senior Kalvin McRae.
Ohio turnovers came from every inch of the field. Interceptions, fumbles, and muffed punts seemed constant. Bobcats starting quarterback Brad Bower was comically off on several of his throws. He was benched in the third quarter after throwing his fourth interception.
UT sophomore Aaron Opelt started for the first time in three weeks after recovering from an injury. In his absence, D.J. Lenehan had completed 68 percent of his passes and had success running the offense.
But once Opelt was healthy, UT coach Tom Amstutz opted to put him in. He looked rusty to start, but completed 19-of-39 passes for 204 yards.
The Rockets forced four turnovers in the first half but got only three points from them. A 74-yard kickoff return by Parmele to Ohio's 15 also only garnered a FG. UT was down 14-6 at half.
"Early in the first half we went for points," Amstutz said. "We needed some timing and Aaron also needed to stay in the game to get some timing. I'm glad we had those points on the board. We needed all those field goals."
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