DEKALB, Ill. – Northern Illinois quarterback Drew Hare completed 90 percent of his passes for 363 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Joel Bouagnon recorded his third 100-yard rushing game of the season to lead NIU to a 59-41 win over Ball State Saturday at Huskie Stadium.
The win snapped the Huskies’ three-game losing streak and gave NIU possession of the Bronze Stalk Trophy for the seventh consecutive year. NIU evened its record at 3-3 on the season, 1-1 in the Mid-American Conference, while Ball State fell to 2-4, 1-2 in the MAC.
(CLICK READ MORE TO CONTINUE . . . )
NIU totaled 636 yards of total offense on the day. Hare, who completed 14 consecutive passes during the Huskies’ 28-point second quarter, finished the day 29-of-32 for 363 yards and two touchdowns. Bouagnon rushed for 149 yards on 31 carries with two touchdowns.
NEW COMPLETION RECORD
Hare’s 90.6 completion percentage set a new school-record, breaking the previous mark of 81.8 percent (27-of-33) set by Chandler Harnish against Kansas on Sept. 10, 2011.
“Drew definitely threw the ball well today,” Carey said. “We have a ton of confidence in Drew and he came in and showed it today.”
NIU trailed 10-0 early in the second quarter before the Huskie offense erupted for four touchdowns before the intermission. With the exception of taking a knee at the end of the first half, the Huskies scored on nine consecutive possessions after the first quarter until taking the victory formation at the end of the game.
Junior wide receiver Kenny Golladay accounted for NIU’s first touchdown with a three-yard run to cap an 11-play, 82-yard drive with 11:22 to play before halftime. After a Ball State field goal pushed the Cardinal lead to six, 13-7, Hare connected with senior tight end Desroy Maxwell from 13 yards out to give the Huskies their first lead of the afternoon, 14-13.
LURRY GETS SIXTH PICK
On the next play from scrimmage, sophomore cornerback Shawun Lurry intercepted Ball State quarterback Riley Neal and returned the pick 20 yards to the Ball State nine. Lurry recorded his sixth interception of the season and has at least one in each of NIU’s last four games. Three plays later, Bouagnon scored from a yard out to give NIU a 21-13 lead with 4:41 to play in the first half.
The Huskie defense then forced a three-and-out from the Cardinals and NIU needed just five plays to go 73 yards, capped by a Jordan Huff 17-yard touchdown run, as the Huskies took a 28-13 lead.
Ball State scored just before the half and the Huskies and Cardinals traded touchdowns on the opening two possessions of the second half as NIU led 35-27 with 9:57 to play in the third quarter. The Huskie touchdown came courtesy of a one-yard run by Huff for his second score of the day. Huff rushed for 87 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns on his best day as a Huskie.
A 38-yard field goal by sophomore Christian Hagan pushed the NIU lead to 38-27 midway through the third quarter.
The Cardinals pinned the Huskies deep in their own territory with a punt to the three-yard line late in the third quarter, but NIU marched 97 yards in 14 plays for another touchdown. Hare capped off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter as NIU took a 45-27 lead.
Ball State answered with a touchdown of its own on a five-yard pass from Neal to Corey Lacanaria to cut the NIU advantage to 45-34 with 11:48 left, but it took the Huskies just six plays to respond as Hare connected with Golladay for a 34-yard touchdown on a third-and-nine to push the lead back to 18, 52-34. Golladay ended the game with six catches for a team-high 92 yards.
Another three-and-out for the Huskie defense led to a 12-play, 58-yard drive that included eight rushes by Bouagnon, capped by a one-yard touchdown run as the Huskie lead grew to 59-34. Bouagnon recorded his fourth multi-touchdown day of the year and upped his rushing touchdown total to 10 on the season.
Junior Aregeros Turner finished with a game-high eight catches for 70 yards. Senior safety Marlon Moore (Mobile, Ala./C.F. Vigor) recorded a team-best nine tackles.
NEXT: NIU will return to road next Saturday, Oct. 17, as the Huskies travel to Oxford, Ohio, to meet the Miami RedHawks. Ball State takes a break from conference play to host Georgia State.