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Turnovers Doom Ohio in 43-40 Loss

Oct. 20, 2007

Final Stats |  Notes

TOLEDO, Ohio - The Glass Bowl curse continues.

Ohio, winless at Toledo's home field since 1967, racked up 560 total yards of offense on Saturday night but seven turnovers (three fumbles, four interceptions) allowed the Rockets to win their 16th straight home game against the Bobcats, 43-40.

No turnover was more disastrous for Ohio than Chris Garrett's fumbled punt with less than one minute remaining. Garrett (Bristow, Va.) muffed his second punt of the contest and Toledo recovered with just seconds remaining, setting up Alex Steigerwald's 40-yard game-winning field goal.

Ohio had tied the game at 40 just minutes before when Theo Scott (Long Beach, Calif.) led the Bobcats down the field and found tight end Andrew Mooney (Lubbock, Texas) for a 35-yard touchdown strike. Ohio converted the two-point conversion and after the defense forced Toledo to punt, it looked like the game would need overtime to be settled. However, it was not to be. 

Despite four first half turnovers, Ohio (3-5, 1-3 MAC) led the Rockets (3-5, 1-3 MAC) at halftime but then Toledo's tailback took over.

The Bobcat defense yielded 241 yards rushing to Toledo's Jalen Parmele, a career high, and two touchdowns. The senior from Midland, Mich., totaled 470 yards on the ground in his previous three games.

Ohio's Kalvin McRae (Decatur, Ga.) rushed for 182 yards and three touchdowns while quarterback Brad Bower (Burr Ridge, Ill.) completed 9-of-17 passes for 163 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. Scott completed 7-of-13 passes for 126 yards and one touchdown in relief of Bower.

McRae broke the century mark in rushing yardage for the second straight game after being held under 100 yards on the ground in each of Ohio's first four losses.

Toledo began the game deep in Ohio territory after returning the opening kickoff to the Bobcats' 10 yard line. But the Ohio defense held strong, stopping Parmele for no gain on third and goal from the one yard line.

While Toledo settled for a field goal on its first offensive possession, the Bobcats could not be kept out of the end zone. Three plays after Bower hit Mooney for a 13-yard gain, McRae punched in his 11th rushing touchdown of the season from five yards out and gave the Bobcats a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.

Toledo tacked on its second field goal of after a Bower interception late in the first quarter, but the Bobcats responded quickly once again. Bower threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Price (Hilliard) on Ohio's first play in the second quarter, Price's longest catch this season. The touchdown toss was Bower's seventh of the season and gave the Bobcats a 14-6 lead with a little more than five minutes remaining in the first half.

The Bobcats and Rockets exchanged fumbles after the Ohio touchdown and Bower threw his second and third interceptions of the game but the Bobcat defense did not allow the Rockets to capitalize on the miscues and the teams took to the locker rooms for halftime.

McRae ran for 61 yards in the first half but more than doubled his total on Ohio's third play of the second half. The senior scampered 65 yards down the field for his 12th touchdown of the season, second of the game, and with 13:26 remaining in the third quarter, Ohio led 21-6.

Toledo and quarterback Aaron Opelt, back from a leg injury, took to the air following the Ohio score, with a pair of long passes setting up a 23 yard touchdown strike to Nick Moore. The grab was his third touchdown catch this season and closed the gap to 21-13.

Toledo regained control of the ball on its own 33 yard line after Bower's fourth interception. After nine plays, Opelt plunged in from one yard out on a quarterback sneak to cut the Ohio lead to one point, 21-20, with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter.

After a pair of three-and-outs left Toledo punting deep in its own territory, Garrett misplayed the catch and fumbled the ball which Toledo recovered for Ohio's sixth turnover of the contest. But after a 29-yard run by Parmele, the Ohio defense stonewalled the Rockets and blocked the ensuing punt. During the scramble for the football, the officials ruled after a review that Ohio touched the ball before Toledo recovered, giving the Rockets a first down on the Ohio 20 yard line as time expired in the third quarter.

The Rockets didn't take long to capitalize as Parmele pounded the ball in from one-yard out for his first score of the game. After Opelt was sacked on a two-point conversion attempt, Toledo had its first lead of the game, 26-21.

The lead did not last long. The Bobcats drove 63 yards in 1:28 on six straight running plays from McRae and Scott. McRae scored his third touchdown of the contest on a six-yard sweep to the left and after Scott hit Mooney for a two-point conversion, Ohio regained the lead 29-26 with 12:49 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The two teams continued to exchange rushing touchdowns when three plays and 44 seconds after the McRae score, Parmele rumbled 45 yards for a touchdown and his Rockets retook the lead 33-29.

Toledo extended its lead with 8:23 to play when reserve running back DaJuane Collins rushed left for a four yard touchdown, his fourth of the season. The Rockets fourth rushing score of the contest put the home team up 40-29.

Ohio chipped into the 11 point lead when Michael Braunstein (Gilbert, Ariz.) connected on his 20th straight field goal, 12th this season, when the graduate student's 40-yard kick sailed through the uprights and cut the Toledo lead to eight, 40-32.

It looked like Parmele would score his third touchdown of the game with just more than two minutes remaining in the game, but the senior fumbled on the Ohio one-yard line and the Bobcats regained possession of the ball deep in their own territory.

Scott drove Ohio down the field quickly and found Mooney in the middle of the field for a 36-yard touchdown pass. After Scott connected with Chido Nwokocha (Elk Grove, Calif.) for the two-point conversion, Ohio and Toledo were all tied up at 40 with 1:45 remaining to play.

The Ohio defense forced Toledo to punt the ball but Garrett fumbled his second punt of the game and Toledo recovered the ball on the Ohio 22-yard line, setting up the game-winning field goal.

Ohio will be back in northwest Ohio on Saturday when the Bobcats travel to Bowling Green for another MAC matchup at 6 p.m.