Arena Sportsnet

Huskies Fall at Iowa in Season Opener

IOWA CITY, IOWA – Not the way the Huskies wanted to start the season.

Behind a 30-point second half, the Iowa Hawkeyes sent the Huskies to defeat 33-7 on Saturday afternoon in Iowa City.

The game started well for the Huskies, who forced a quick three-and-out on Iowa’s first series. Wesley then blocked the Iowa punt, which went out of bounds at the Iowa 23-yard line. NIU advanced to the 16, before kicker Andrew Gantz’ field goal was wide left.

The teams traded punts, and senior cornerback Albert Smalls stopped Iowa’s next drive with a sideline interception. After NIU’s next drive stalled at the Iowa 39 when D.J. Brown was dropped for a loss on fourth and two, Iowa embarked on the lone scoring drive of the first half, going from its 45 to the NIU 15, setting up a Miguel Recinos field goal from 33 yards and a 3-0 lead for the home team.

Two possessions later, NIU appeared to be in business, moving from its 39 to the Iowa 23 before Childers’ pass was picked off at the seven-yard line. Childers finished the game 14-of-25 for 105 yards, while Iowa starter Nate Stanley was 11-of-23 for 108 yards.

NIU missed one more chance to score just before halftime. After the Childers’ interception, the Huskies’ defense forced an Iowa three-and-out, giving the Huskies the ball at the Iowa 45 with 23 seconds left in the half. A completion to freshman Cole Tucker put the ball at the 32-yard line, but Gantz’ field goal try again missed left.

Iowa then went to work as Noah Fant took in a 1-yard pass from Nate Stanley to cap a 58-yard, 7-play drive. That score extended the Iowa lead to 10-0.

Two more rushing touchdowns from Ivory Kelly-Martin and Toren Young broke the game open and after a long punt pinned NIU at its own 1-yard line, caught NIU QB Marcus Childers in the end zone for a safety and completed their scoring with a one-yard TD run from Peyton Mansell.

Down 33-0, the Huskies mounted their lone scoring drive behind the running of freshman Jordan Nettles, who gained 33 yards on six carries in the first seven plays of the drive. Two Childers completions and a facemask penalty on Iowa on another Nettles run gave NIU the ball at the 10, where Childers found Wesley in the corner of the end zone for the score.

Childers finished the day for NIU going 14-26 for 105 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Freshman Jordan Nettles carried 13 times for 74 yards to lead the Husky running attack.

NIU returns home next Saturday to host the Utah Utes of the Pac-12 conference. Kickoff is set for 6:30pm.

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