Northern Illinois barely gets by the Buffalo Bulls 31-30

It was a slow start for the NIU Huskies in the first half against the Buffalo Bulls on the road. The Huskies were actually outgained 279-181 yds but led the game 17-10 thanks to a couple of turnovers and a missed field goal.

The Huskies couldn't move the ball in their first offensive drive, but recovered the ball again after a dropped Buffalo punt. The offense faltered again and then missed a field goal. Jimmie Ward would cause a fumble and the Huskies would score a field goal in a drive highlighted by a 30 yd run and catch by Nathan Palmer. It's unfortunate that Palmer dropped a sure touchdown shortly after that.

After holding Buffalo to a field goal, the Huskie offense had yet another three and out and had to punt the ball away. UB would subsequently miss a FG on the next drive and the NIU offense would finally get it together in the 2nd quarter with long drives of 7:25 and 18 plays and a 10 play drive after a nice return by TommyLee Lewis highlighted by two Martel Moore catches of over 10 yds.

Second half

NIU came storming out of halftime and scored on three plays after an amazing leaping catch by Perez Ashford and a touchdown by Jasmin Hopkins in which nobody touched him.

The next Buffalo drive stalled after a failed flea flicker was tossed to a leaping Dechane Durante leaping up to grab the interception from his safety position. The offense wouldn't do anything, but the Huskies got the ball back after Buffalo dropped yet another punt return. NIU would manage to punch it in with Jasmin Hopkins to go up 31-10.

The near-collapse

After going up 19 points, you could tell that this offense was shut down. Jordan Lynch came into the game to spell Chandler Harnish, who looked like he was hurt most of the game. The offense only seemed to be playing their plays during the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

The Huskies would end up punting on their next 5 possessions in the game and the defense struggled. Four straight three-and-outs will do that to a team. The Buffalo Bulls offense put up scored three touchdowns and outpaced the Huskies in yardage with 572 to the Huskies 328 for the game.

Chazz Anderson had his way going 35 of 53 passing for 404 yds and 3 TDs. His only mistake in the 4th quarter was throwing an interception to CB Rashaan Melvin. RB Branden Olvier cut up the defense for 112 yds on 28 carries.

Right at the end, Buffalo had a chance to tie the game, but their kicker missed an extra point and the Huskies barely got by for the victory.

The Huskies are going to have a tough test on the road against Toledo, who is likely going to be 4-0 in conference after today's matchup vs. Miami OH.

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