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NIU Huskies fall short of miraculous comeback in 20-28 loss to Wisconsin

I'm excited for this team.  I'm also extremely proud of this team.  Going in to the 4th quarter the Huskies were down 6-28.  It was simply not logical that the Northern Illinois would make it back in this game.  Wisconsin had been just rolling through our defense the entire day and we didn't have a solution for a lot of their weapons.

Quarterback Chandler Harnish picked his spots as he set the team up for two rushing TDs by RB Chad Spann.  It was vintage Harnish tonight where he made plays not only through the air but on the ground as well.  Most importantly rushing for the 2-point conversion that let us stay in the game.  Unlikely candidates like FB Kyle Skarb and TE Bryan Beckner became reliable targets as he marched against the Wisconsin D.  Even Freshmen WRs Perez Ashford and Martel Moore stepped up and made plays late in the game.

Chad Spann wasn't only a goal line threat.  On that second TD drive of the 4th, he came through with the big run to get a first down after a 3rd and 15.  After he punched it in to make it 20-28, the Huskies had to go for an onside kick.  Who recovered it?  Chad Spann.  He gets my vote for player of the game.

This young Huskie squad showed a resiliency, a prowess.  The Huskies had been put in a corner and they fought back with such tenacity against impossible odds.  My hat goes off to the Wisconsin Badgers.  They have an excellent squad and will have a successful season, I am sure of this.  Offensively, they were well-rounded rushing and throwing the ball.  Defensively, they caused good pressure and the names O'Brien Schofield and J.J. Watt will be ringing in Chandler Harnish's head for a while.

This game was a statement to the MAC.  It was a statement to everybody.  This team fought and fought and followed Coach Kill's lead against players that were simply bigger, stronger and more physical than the Huskies.

There are still scores to come out from the games today, but when you look at the teams that faltered in the MAC West: Western Michigan, Toledo, Ball State...tonight's performance puts us near or right there at the top.

I'm excited to see what else this squad has in them and how this young team can develop into.  I'll have a more detailed analysis of this game tomorrow once things settle down.  There are times where I have been embarrassed of how bad our team performed, but not tonight.  The effort was there.  The talent was there.  We just have to put it all together before conference play starts.