NIU vs Toledo

Posted on November 9, 2016. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , |

MAC Conference: Huskies take on the Rockets

November 9, 2016

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First official contest at Guaranteed Rate Field aka U.S. Cellular aka Comiskey features the Mid-American Conference Northern Illinois (3-6) taking on Toledo (7-2) and they are calling it the “Chi-Town Showdown.”

toledo vs.niu2

By the game being held in Chicago, it’s a crucial locale in terms of former and future students, as well as alum for both schools.

“It probably doesn’t have everything riding on it the way people thought,” NIU coach Rod Carey said. “The same appeal might not be there, but it is a big game for those reasons.”

In addition, the MAC stakes couldn’t be higher for the Rockets.

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NIU needs to win its final three games to qualify for a ninth straight bowl appearance, extending its MAC record. As long as there’s a bowl game to play for, the emphasis remains on the present rather than the unknown future.

The shocking loss to Ohio a few weeks ago forced Toledo to have to win out to take the MAC West – and that includes a showdown at Western Michigan after facing Ball State next week.

The offense continues to be amazing, averaging 553 yards per game with the nation’s second-most efficient passing attack. The attack moves at will, and outside of a few braincramps, the defense has been good enough. But now the Rockets have to face a red-hot NIU team rolling at the right time.

It’s been a tough season full of injuries and ineffectiveness, but the Huskies have taken care of two home games helped by an offense that’s going off.

Joel Bouagnon ran for 134 yards and five scores in last week’s blowout win over Bowling Green, while QB Anthony Maddie took over two weeks ago running for 125 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-7 win over Buffalo.

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Can the NIU backfield go off against a Rocket defense that’s allowed more than 100 yards just two times over the last five games? Yeah, but the Toledo offense will make up for it with a strong enough offensive performance – the passing game will kick in – to win a thriller worthy of the venue.

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2014 BIG Ten – Week 2

Posted on September 8, 2014. Filed under: NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Week 2…

September 6, 2014

BIG games this week across the board…

The Big Ten went 8-5 in Week 2, and we learned some things in the process. Brace yourself; this won’t be pretty.

Aside from Wisconsin-LSU, the rest of the Big Ten games were blowouts, narrow escapes against inferior teams, or upset losses. Week 2, I argued, would show what the Big Ten was capable of. Oh, did it ever.

Western KentuckyWKentucky 34, Illinoisillinois2014 42

For the second straight week, the Fightin’ Illini came back to snag a victory. This week, it was against stingy Western Kentucky.

WKU led 17-14 at the half, but then Wes Lunt carried the load, or should we say passed the load, by going for 456. Illinois scored three times to take a 42-27 lead in the fourth quarter and survive a last-minute score by the Hilltoppers. It’s not pretty, but Tim Beckman’s team is 2-0.

Central MichiganCMichigan  38, Purduepurdue2014 17

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN. – a sloppy loss for the Boilermakers at home against the MAC.

It was the (Cooper) Rush / (Thomas) Rawls show for the Chippewas (2-0). Rush tossed 2 TD passes, while Rawls ran for two. He finished the game with 31 carries for 155 yards, while Rush finished 11 of 16 for 172 yards with one interception.

It wasn’t even close. Another spark for the visitors came from former Mount Carmel player, Brandon Greer, who returned a 57-yard interception back for the for the first score of the game. Then in about 2-mintues later, Anthony Rice broke a tackle and scored on a 65-yard catch-and-run (14-0).

The Boilermakers got on the board when Danny Etling took the ball in from 4 yards out making the score 14-7. A few series later Rawls scored from two-yards out before halftime making it 21-7. Home team couldn’t get any closer than that.

The Chippewas beat a Big Ten foe for the second time in three seasons and improved to 6-23 against teams currently in the conference.

Purdue (1-1) failed to get its first 2-0 start since 2007 and still hasn’t opened a season with back-to-back wins over Football Bowl Subdivision opponents since 2005.

HowardHoward 25, Rutgersrutgers2014 38

The Scarlet Knights led 31-7 at the half. Despite the late scores and routinely porous defense, Rutgers was the most impressive of the noon teams.

 

Akron 3, Penn State 21

You can say Penn State played down to visiting Akron, as they only had a 7-0 lead at halftime, but the Nitanny Lions got their roar in the second half to get the W.

McNeese State 24, Nebraska 31

Ameer Abdullah came to the rescue for Nebraska in an incredible last-minute touchdown reception saving the Cornhuskers from total embarrassment against McNeese State.

The Cornhuskers let McNeese State hang around far longer than they should have. Leading 14-7 in the second quarter, Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw a lazy out route that McNeese returned 98 yards for a tying score. Nebraska’s offensive line couldn’t give Abdullah holes, and McNeese tied it at 24 with four minutes remaining. With only 20 seconds remaining, Abdullah had a sensational tackle-breaking run after catch to spare Nebraska from ignominy.

NOTE: In the absence of Braxton Miller, the “Abdullah for Big Ten MVP” bandwagon is looking pretty good.

Western Illinois 37, Wisconsin 3

The game began in a weird fashion with a safety on Western Illinois’ opening kickoff return. The Badgers led 2-0 for most of the half, as neither Melvin Gordon (17 carries for 38 yards) nor Tanner McEvoy could produce. At least McEvoy recovered after halftime, completing 17 passes in a row and finishing with three touchdowns, but it was a shaky performance for Wisconsin.

Wisconsin seemed a little out of sorts through the entire first half, but recovered in the second half to produce a deceptively perilous final score.

 Ball State 13,  Iowa 17

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Maryland 24, USF 17

Maryland was supposed to beat South Florida easily. Instead, the Terrapins had six giveaways and had to rely on a blocked punt in the fourth quarter to put away the Bulls.

Middle Tennessee 24, Minnesota 35

Once again Minnesota was out-gained by an opponent, and once again it won by double digits. Minnesota built a 28-0 lead and rode out a rough second half to beat Middle Tennessee.

Unlike Iowa, Minnesota coaches know their strengths (David Cobb, their star running back, is a powerful workhorse) and weaknesses (Mitch Leidner can’t pass) and craft an optimal offense around those limitations. It’s going to get tiring calling the Golden Gophers opportunistic every week.

Northern IllinoisNIU  23, Northwesternnorthwestern2014 15

In spite of Northwestern’s collapse against Cal in the season opener, the Wildcats were a 5 point favorite coming into this game. Go figure!

Like last week, the Wildcats were down early to a 23-7 lead and just couldn’t come back. In short, Northwestern was trounced on the line of scrimmage by a MAC team, an awful sign for Big Ten play.

Michigan Statemichiganstate2014 27, OregonOregon 46

The Ducks were trailing in the third quarter, 27-18, against Michigan State until Marcus Mariota flipped the ball to Royce Freeman (89 yards, 2 scores) and the flood gates opened up. From here, they went on to score the first of four unanswered touchdowns to knock out the Big Ten from a west coast victory.

Mariota went 17/28 for 318 and three touchdowns.

Michigan State was lead by 29/47 for 343 and 2 TDs / 2 INTs.

Michiganmichigan2014 O, Notre DameNotreDame 31

The Irish are for real. After seeing them week one against Rice, there game play was lowered saying who they played, but tonight, whew…. the Irish jumped out early and often knocking off what many thought was the hottest team in the Big Ten in a complete shutout.

Everything went Notre Dame’s way.

Wolverine’s Devin Gardner had four giveaways, including a pick six at the final whistle that didn’t count in the final score and resulted in him getting dinged up. Michigan running backs averaged 2.9 yards per carry.

This game also marks the last game in the Michigan-Notre Dame series, and possibly the rivalry.

NOTE: the Wolverines scoreless for the first time in 30 years.

Virginia TechVaTech 35,  Ohio Stateohiostate2014 21

Michael Brewer passed for two touchdowns on Saturday night and Virginia Tech’s defense stood tough at the end as the Hokies stunned the eighth-ranked Buckeyes 35-21.

”I still have confidence that we have enough skill on this football team to get by people,” Meyer said.

Indiana Bye Week

Stay tuned for next week when the Big Ten’s Week 2 winners try to restore a shred of the conference’s credibility. Iowa-Iowa State, Maryland-West Virginia, Minnesota-TCU, Illinois-Washington and the very first Big Ten game in Rutgers history ought to be worth watching.

 

“BIG TEN HELMET STICKERS 4 the Week”

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OFFENSE: Wes Lunt, Illinois
DEFENSE: Drew Ott, Iowa
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NCAA NIU’s streak ends against Iowa

Posted on September 1, 2012. Filed under: NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Huskies come up short and ends streak…

September 1, 2012

The Huskies winning streak of nine is over as the Hawkeyes come into Soldier Field a snagging a victory 18-17.

Iowa has struggled in the red zone all day. They settled for third field goals, by John Wienke, including a 50-yarder in the fourth making the score 17-12 with 9:33 left. They made it a contest and took the lead in the fourth on a third and 8 – instead of throwing the ball, they ran the ball power right with Damon Bullock for 23 yards and the touchdown which became the game winner.

“Greg (Davis, Offensive Coordinator for Iowa) pulled it out of his pocket at an opportune moment,” coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It was a huge play because, clearly, up until that point our biggest issue was getting into the end zone and we didn’t have much success doing that.”

Wienke played a big part in the win by by landing a punt inside the 1-yard line with 5:36 to play. Bullock finished with 151 yards on 30 carries.

“It was a good play call by them,” NIU coach Dave Doeren said after the game. “obviously we could have executed better. We worked in a pass defense. We knew we were in a zone {defense}, and we just didn’t hit. It was a defense that worked real well throughout the game for us.”

At the half, the Huskies had a 10-6 lead which came from a seven yard run by “true” freshmen Keith Harris Jr. (Chicago-Leo high school) in the second quarter. The Hawkeyes nailed two field goals by Mike Meyers: one for 34 yards, the other was from 29.

In the third, QB Jordan Lynch (Chicago Mount Carmel alum) sprinted down the field for a 73-yard touchdown run in the third quarter making the score Huskies 17, Hawkeyes 6 with 9:43 left. But that was it as the Hawkeyes defense stop them consistently down the stretch.

“They had a good game plan coming into it,” Lynch said. “We had receivers open, I just tried to make throws, tried to make plays. We had a few drops that hurt us. When it comes down to it, I’ve just got to make the throws.”

Lynch finished his first start as quarterback 6-for-16 54 yards in the air, and 136 yards on the ground.

Paid attendance of 52,117 at Soldier Field today.

Just for kicks: Iowa’s Mike Meyer tied a school record with four field goals, including a 50-yarder.

The Huskies are host to Tennessee-Martin on Saturday.

More stats can be found at http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/boxscore?gid=201209010042.

PREGAME NOTES
The Northern Illinois Huskies played host to Iowa at historic Solder Field in Chicago on September 1 to kickoff their season. It is the second straight season, and third time overall, that NIU has played at the landmark stadium. NIU returns 14 starters on offense and defense, including two players, LB Tyrone Clark and TE Jason Schepler, who were starters in the 2010 but missed last season. The Huskies entered the 2012 season with the longest winning streak in the nation at the FBS level after winning their last nine games of 2011 including the MAC Championship game and the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl.

Coming into this contest, the NIU players used the word “boost” multiple times during the Tuesday’s news conference. They were referring to the fast start they want to get off to in today’s game against Iowa at Soldier Field.

“It gives the team a boost,” defensive end Sean Progar said. “Coming out fast is very important, especially for our team with our offense.”

The last time they played a Big Ten team — Wisconsin at Soldier Field last season — it was anything but a fast start for NIU. The Badgers led 28-7 at halftime and scored 42 unanswered points on their way to a 49-7 victory.

Progar said a lot of players weren’t playing the way they could have.

This year’s Iowa team isn’t as talented as last year’s Wisconsin team, which played in the Rose Bowl. Hawkeyes quarterback James Vandenberg is good, but he’s not Russell Wilson. None of Iowa’s running backs compares to Montee Ball.

Still, the Huskies don’t want to put themselves in a hole early. NIU coach Dave Doeren stressed the need for a strong start.

“I don’t know if we need a ­statement as much as we need to be in the game. I don’t want to look up and see 21-0,” Doeren said. “I think if we can play with them and not beat ourselves, that’s a huge key.”

NIU brings in a nine-game winning streak, and Doeren wants to see a team that isn’t going to beat itself and let the game get out of hand.

“To me, the best start for us would be just playing good football and not beating ourselves. Just keep doing that and tell our players to make plays,” Doeren said.

One of NIU’s goals is to beat a BCS conference team and this year they have two chances — Saturday and Sept. 22 against Kansas at Huskie Stadium.

NIU last beat a BCS team in 2010, when the Huskies went to Minneapolis and took down Minnesota. NIU also won at Purdue in 2009.

However, the Huskies are 0-7 all-time against Iowa. The Hawkeyes defeated NIU 16-13 in 2007 at Soldier Field and got a 24-14 win in 2006 at Kinnick Stadium.

In addition, NIU has a new quarterback under the snap – Jordan Lynch.

It’s been years since Northern Illinois had a quarterback not named Chandler Harnish see consistent playing time at quarterback.

The south side Mount Carmel alum junior has bided his time since arriving at NIU in the fall of 2009. He redshirted that first season, but saw some game action as the team’s Wildcat quarterback in 2010 and 2011. In the GoDaddy.com Bowl victory over Arkansas State, he was able to lead NIU on a touchdown drive when Harnish was out with a tweaked ankle.

“I always prepared as if I was the starter the past three years,” Lynch said. “The feeling’s great. I love that pressure to become the starter and guys looking up to you. I love taking that leadership role.”

Mount Carmel is the same school that produced Donovan McNabb, who went on to Syracuse University and to the NFL (Philadelphia and Minnesota).

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