Huskie Stadium, DeKalb, IL
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SDSU leads series 4-0
After battling through quarterback injuries to end their 2015 season, the Northern Illinois Huskies find themselves again turning to Plan B – this time just two games into the 2016 campaign.
Quarterback Drew Hare went down with a leg injury in the second half of last week’s loss to South Florida. The defending MAC West champions are now 0-2 on the year, with another big challenge looming Saturday. San Diego State invades. . .
NORTHERN ILLINOIS HUSKIES (0-2, 0-0 MAC)
► If anybody is counting, NIU has actually lost its last five games -- going back to last year, of course. No doubt some of that has to do with the staggering quarterback injury situation late last season, but with Hare going down again last week, it looks like some ominous clouds are hovering.
► “Drew will be out for an extended period of time – probably the majority of the season at this point,” Carey said. “We want to leave it open for his return, but certainly that’s not a guarantee.
► Another option at quarterback is senior Anthony Maddie, who was moved to wide receiver this year. “We … knew we could move him back to quarterback if we needed to,” Carey said. “I think there will be a dual role for him in that because he’s progressed nicely at wideout, too.”
► Throughout its successful run of recent years, NIU has managed to keep its ground game as a strong offensive component. The Huskies may now need it even more. “If you can’t run the ball, you can’t throw it,” Carey said. “Those two work together. You got to be able to do both.”
► Northern Illinois registered 157 yards on 41 attempts (3.8 ypc) against South Florida. “You look at what you are averaging per rush, and you want that to be effective, so you can run when you want to,” Carey said. “Some games, running when you want to may dd up to 150 yards a game. Other games, it may be running when you want to maybe 300 yards a game.
► Joel Bouagnon led NIU rushers Saturday with 72 yards on 14 carries (5.1 ypc) .
► South Florida made it a point of emphasis to limit damage by WR Kenny Gollday. He caught four balls for 43 yards and rushed once for five yards. “South Florida certainly dedicated -- a lot of times two – people to him, and that’s going to leave someone else one-on-one,” Carey said.
► The extra Galloday attention may have provided some extra opportunities for Christian Blake, who led the Huskies with six receptions for 53 yards.
► While the NIU offense has received considerable attention, the defense must be a part of returning to some winning ways. The Huskies have allowed 44.0 ppg while scoring 25.5. San Diego State brings a very potent offense that is averaging 38.0 ppg thus far.
SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS (2-0, 0-0 MWC)
► The Aztecs are probably best known for their running game at this point and have run the ball approximately 73 percent of their non-kicking downs.
► Senior Donnel Pumphrey (5-9, 180) recently surpassed former SDSU and NFL RB Marshall Falk for the career rushing record. He ran for 1,653 yards with 17 TDs in 2015 and registered 1,867 yards with 20 scores the previous year. Through two contests this season, he is averaging 7.6 ypc with 379 yards on 50 trips and has four TDs. “They have a dynamic player, and they get him the ball,” said Carey, who noted Pumphrey can catch the ball, as well, and is used from a number of different looks.
► Pumphrey carried 29 times for 281 yards with three TDs in last week’s 45-40 win over Cal. His longest run was for 57 yards.
► Quarterback Christian Chapman completed 14 of 23 for 129 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
► Mikah Holder leads the Aztecs in receiving yards (6/175 yds) and TDs (2), while Eric Judge is the team leader in catches (9/101 yds)
► Rashad Penny scored two TDs for SDSU Saturday. The second was a 100-yard kickoff return.
► Three San Diego State players – Ronley Lakalaka, Damontae Kazee and Kameron Kelly -- came up with interceptions against Cal.