Northern Illinois 45, Idaho 35: Huskies escape with close road victory

Matthew Holst

The NIU Huskies defeat the Idaho Vandals 45-35 in an unexpected close victory on the road.

THE HANGOVER

NIU did not start this game out well. The defense got destroyed in the first half with Idaho running and throwing the ball all over this defense. Last week might have been a dream 30-27 win over Iowa, but this first half was a nightmare. The only stats I can find are on yahoo, but they are goofy to start off the game. The defense gave up a couple penalties and overall looked sluggish as Idaho went up 7-0. Way, WAY too many penalties in this one. It didn't stop there as the Vandals would go up as much as 21-7 over a stunned Huskie team. Just ineffective defense and coverage mistakes all over the place. Idaho was quite the quicker team early on.

You can blame the hangover after the Iowa loss and combine the Bye Week rust and all the time it took to get to Moscow, Idaho. All of it had an effect on these Huskies as they were 30-pt favorites heading into this one.

FIGHTING HUSKIES

As the 2nd quarter started and NIU was down 2 scores, Tommylee Lewis caught a ball for 23 yds, plus a 14 yd penalty for a late hit out of bounds, plus a 12 yd penalty for the coaches yelling at the refs. That set up an easy 14-yd TD catch by Keith Harris to make it 14-21.

IDAHO SCORES AGAIN. 28-14. DISBELIEF.

The next drive was really the turning point fo the game. Jordan Lynch and Cameron Stingily were able to run it and run it right at Idaho and eventually Stingily put it in from 2 yds to make it 21-28. Great fighting from the Huskies when their backs were against the wall.

THE AWAKENING

NIU has been a second half team for a while now. Even last year they were awful in the first half several times but managed to turn it on in the 2nd. This was a game where that happened.

This game is all about BIG PLAYS. Big plays to Da'Ron Brown and big plays by Lynch including a 61 yd rush for a TD to put the Huskies up 35-28. The defense was stepping up and making big sacks by numerous players on the defense.

#THEHARDWAY

Closing this game out wasn't easy. I'll ask this question: Why do we always have to win "the hard way?" Why not the easy way. I'll take a couple of blowouts here and there to a team like Idaho.

Anyways, after going up 35-28 the Huskies make some missteps. A fumble by Wedel on a fake kick. A fumble by Lynch right after recovering an Idaho fumble. Another Idaho TD. Tie game.

Idaho fumbles the ball a 3rd time and the Huskies can breathe a little with a Sims TD. The defense for the Huskies set on fire and went on a sack party in this one. Lynch for 6 again and it's 45-35.

Idaho would do some interesting things like block NIU's punt but the Huskies would stop them on offense.

What a road game.

HUSKIE FANS, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE GAME?

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