DeKALB, ILL -- Suffice it to say, if a team’s punter isn’t needed, it should be a good day for the offense.
Such was the case Saturday as Northern Illinois scored on 8 of 12 possessions en route to a 51-41 victory over visiting Miami. Halftime and the game’s end accounted for two non-scoring drives by NIU. The Huskies also missed one field goal and gave up one fumble.
After scoring 17 points and totaling 341 yards of offense in a loss to Central Michigan last week – a loss that broke a 28-game home winning streak – the Huskies’ offense erupted against the defensively-challenged RedHawks.
Northern totaled 658 yards, with a whopping 433 coming via the ground game. Quarterback Drew Hare, channeling a little bit of former Huskie and Heisman trophy candidate Jordan Lynch, set the tone early and with several big runs on NIU’s opening drive. By game’s end, he had 180 yards on 17 carries (10.6 ypc) with two touchdowns. The RedHawks simply had no answer for Hare.
“Obviously when you run the ball like we did from the quarterback position, you put yourself in a good position and open things up for the running backs and the passing game,” NIU head coach Red Carey said. “We were moving them [up front] so it was good.”
Running backs Cameron Stingily (23 rushes 133 yards, 1 TD) or Joel Bouagnon (5 rushes, 66 yards) each put in a good day. Even backup quarterback Anthony Maddie was able to average 8.2 yards per carry as he totaled 49 yards on six carries.
The Huskies run game complimented a passing attack that yielded 225 yards. Hare completed 12 of 16 for 185 yards with one TD. Maddie hit 3 of 5 passes for 22 yards.
Da’Ron Brown led the NIU receiving corps with four catches for 128 yards and one TD.
Miami, meanwhile, also displayed an abundance of offense. Quarterback Andrew Hendrix had another huge day, completing 23 of 42 for 346 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 14 times for 72 yards and three touchdowns. That yardage, along with 62 yards rushing by Dawan Scott, enabled the RedHawks to total 168 yards one week after netting zero yards rushing against Akron.
Rokeem Williams turned five receptions into 97 yards and a TD , while David Frazier had seven catches for 87 yards. Tight end Ryan Smith had added 70 yards on three receptions and Sam Martin chipped in four catches for 54 yards and a score.
Northern opened scoring with Jordan Hugg’s six-yard run at 10:00 of the first period. However the PAT kick failed. Hendrix then drove MU down the field, finishing the trip with a 24-yard pass to Williams. Kaleb Patterson’s PAT gave Miami its only lead of the game.
Scott, the former wide receiver who has missed significant time due to injury in recent weeks, scored from six yards out for Miami at 7:03, but Northern came back with two more scores.
First Brown got behind a Miami defender to score on a 61-yard play. Aregeros Turner then tallied on a sweep from one yard out.
Martin’s seven-yard TD reception with 27 seconds left in the half closed the Miami deficit to 37-21 at the break.
The RedHawks got a rare stop on NIU’s opening drive of the third quarter, forcing a field goal attempt, which went wide.
Hendrix accounted for the only score of the third quarter when he capped an eight-play drive with a four-yard run up the middle. He later added two more TD runs as the two teams traded touchdowns.
Northern hits the road for a game at Eastern Michigan next Saturday (1 p.m. ET). Miami hosts Kent State (2:30 p.m. ET).