Arena Sportsnet

Huskies Get Offensive at Zips

AKRON, OHIO – The Northern Illinois Huskies picked up their fifth consecutive victory defeating the Akron Zips 36-26 Thursday night at InfoCision Stadium.

The victory by Northern lllinois (6-3, 5-0) coupled with Western Michigan’s 59-14 loss at Ohio earlier in the evening gives them a two-game lead over the Broncos in the Western Division.

In addition, the Huskies remain undefeated in MAC play along with Buffalo, and made them bowl eligible the third conference team to reach that mark joining UB and WMU.

The loss ended Akron’s two-game winning streak (4-4, 2-3 MAC)

The game was played entirely in fog and rain. However it did not bother either offenses were able to move the ball up and down the field combining doir 845 total yards (484 by NIU and 361 for UA).

Sophomore RB Tre Harbison had a season high 169 yards and a touchdown part of an eveniong that saw the Huskies gain 296 yards on the ground.

Sophomore QB Marcus Childers completed 21-of-28 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown.

The Huskies opened the scoring on their initial possession of the game as Childers put together an eight play 85 yard drive as Childers found junior Spencer Tears from 19-yards away down the right sideline for a 7-0 lead. It was the first time this season NIU scored on their first possession of a game.

The Zips tied the score 7-7 when sophomore QB Cato Nelson moved the ball 77 yards in seven plays the drive ended with a 22 yard pass to Sophomore WR Andre Williams down the right sideline untouched. Williams led the receivers with eight catches for 129 yards and a score.

NIU regained the lead at the beginning of the second quarter when Childers took the Huskies offense 75 yards in 10 plays with Tre Harbison ending the drive with a 2-yard run up the middle to make the score 14-7.

Both teams then traded field goals as Senior Nick Gasser connected for the Zips from 27 yards out and NIU got a 30 yarder from fifth year senior Nick Gantz.

The Huskies doubled their lead to 24-10 when Fears scored on an sweep from five yards out to take the klead into halftime.

In the third quarter NIU extended their lead to 27-10 on their first possession as Gantz hit his second field goal this from 40 yards away to make it 27-10.

After the Zips matched that field goal with Gasser’s second three pointer this from 25 yards out. Nelson out together a five-play 70 yard drive capped by a 13 yard touchdown pass to Kwadarrius Smith in the right corner of the end zone to make it 27-20.

The UA defense came up with a play when on the second play after the touchdown, when Childers fumbled junior DE Devont’e Jest recovered the ball at the NIU 13.

Nelson, who passed for a season high 299 yards completing 18-of-26 passes suffered a lower body injury late in the period and did not return.

The Zips converted that turnover into a touchdown as redshirt freshman Alex Ramart came in for Nelson and completed a six yard pass to Smith for the touchdown, Smith finished the evening with four receptions for 115 yards.

The Huskies then came up with the biggest play of the game as on the extra point try, junior Ben Leroy blocked Gasser’s kick, freshman DB Jalen McKie scooped up the ball and ran 98 yards for two-points pushing the Huskies lead to 29-26.

NIU then closed the scoring halfway through the period when McKie intercepted a Ramart pass at the UA 14 and ran down the left sideline for the score and extend the Huskies winning streak over the Zips to six straight meeting in the series.

Defensively, NIU was led by junior LB Kyle Push who had 10 total tackles and McKie who had a pair of interceptions as well as the touchdown. The Zips were led by junior DB Alvin Davis with 15 total tackles (six solo).

The Huskies return to action on Wednesday night at home against Toledo while UA returns to battle on November 10th at Eastern Michigan

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

%d bloggers like this: