In a remarkable turn of events during the 2008 season, a QB stays healthy the whole game! We're obviously talking about redshirt freshman Chandler Harnish who has been hampered by an ankle injury ever since the 1st half of the Western Michigan game. Last week he made his surprising comeback to lead us over the Miami OH Redhawks and this week he shined at QB the entire game.
Coach Kill says this may have helped Harnish out in a couple different ways:
"The off time he spent mentally standing back and teaching the other quarterbacks helped his knowledge of the game," Kill said.
OLB Alex Kube overcame adjusting to his position change from SS to be named MAC West defensive player of the week. Kube had 6 tackles against the Rockets including an essential 3rd down sack that sent Toledo back 13 yards, consequently forcing the opposing team to miss their 47 yard FG try. It truly was one of the biggest momentum changers in the game.
Toledo HC Tom Amstutz explains how the Huskies were the more physically dominant team during the game last Saturday:
"Their pads were lower, their knees were bent a little bit better than ours and they were ready for a more physical game than we were," Amstutz said. "We were there to make plays and they were the ones falling forward.
Toledo Tom also managed to place part of the blame on how his team wasn't mature enough yet to handle a Michigan win:
"We showed our talent against Michigan," he said. "We showed our immaturity against Northern Illinois. We had a huge victory, we were patted on the backs for a week and we didn’t re-focus. I’m disappointed I didn’t do a better job as a coach and that the players didn’t do a better job in that regard. But the maturity level played a role in it."
On Tuesday, Northern Star writer Ben Gross came out with one of the better articles I've seen him write. He talks about how disappointed he and the fanbase are that the Wisconsin game has been pushed to Soldier Field in 2011. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from his article:
In 2004, NIU drew 27,052 per game in DeKalb. It appears the effects of winning against BCS teams was reason for the attendance increase; the Huskies convinced students from the year prior to become fans.
But these fans graduate, and by 2005, the year NIU went to the MAC championship, the average attendance at Huskie Stadium was down to 22,176.
The trend continued into 2006, a year where NIU went to a bowl game and celebrated Garrett Wolfe’s senior season. An average of only 20,770 fans came per game that season.
It all comes back to the student population. You have to win over the new students each fall and convince them to become fans.
Another NStar writer is cautiously optimistic about the Huskies chances this season.
ESPN's Graham Watson wrote up a nice feature article/blog post about how Jerry Kill was the perfect hire to "rebuild" NIU.
Looking to Bowling Green
BGSU Head Coach Gregg Brandon is weary of making the trip in to Dekalb to face the Huskies. He knows from experience:
"We’ve got to get our guys prepared that we’re going into a hornet’s nest," Brandon said.
Bowling Green hasn’t visited DeKalb since Sept. 24, 2004. It was a Friday night game that the Huskies won, 34-17.
"It was a big game early in the season," Brandon said. "It was noisy and it was a great atmosphere."
The Falcons have a few problems with penalties. Some serious problems. Against EMU they were pushed back 85 yds and got penalized 101 yds in their loss to Miami OH.
An article from the Toledo Blade suggests these Bowling Green Falcons have to play with a sense of urgency like they did last year to salvage their season. The fact is that this is actually possible because they play in the lowy, wide-open MAC East division.
NIU's Chandler Harnish feels the same way that I do about this season and the fans:
"It’s a great thing that people are excited. I can’t get enough of it," Harnish said. "I love to see the students and the faculty and people around the area just excited about football again. Last year, to be honest, I thought people were kind of down about it. It was a little depressing, but we’ve turned things around."
BGSU's Injury Report
WR Freddie Barnes left Saturday's game with a sprained knee and is expected to be out two or three weeks.
The two season opening running backs, Chris Bullock and Willie Geter, are both below 100 percent, which is part of the reason the running game was sluggish against Miami.
"Willie still isn't right," Brandon said. "Bullock's beat up. We hoped he could have played more Saturday because he would've helped us."
Anthony Turner is as close to 100 percent as he's been in quite awhile, which will be good for the Falcons if Geter or Bullock can't handle the running load this weekend.
NIU's Injury Report:
Guys that probably don't even need to play so they can heal up:
#3 QB DeMarcus Grady (ankle)
#19 QB Dan Nicholson (shoulder)
#20 RB Montell Clanton (ankle)
Guys that are banged up, but will probably play this weekend:
And finally, Coach Kill is buying us all thunderstix if the athletic department doesn't hook us up:
"Shoot, I’ll buy the thundersticks and you can quote me on that," Kill said. "Get them out."