It's extremely hard for me to expand on the performance of the Huskies last Saturday in Kalamazoo. I'm honestly still in shock that we won that game. That Huskie team that we witnessed surpassed every expectation that I set before the season. The Huskies aren't supposed to win these close games.
Can you remember the last time an NIU quarterback "won" a game for the Huskies? Chandler Harnish was efficient all game (18 of 30 for 214, 2 TDs) after his INT to start the game. He solely put the team on his back in the 4th quarter to lead the Huskies to victory.
Going way back to the preseason, even Phil Steele pegged WMU at the top of the MAC West. I know the revolution probably started with the Temple game, but I refused to believe it. Where would the Huskies screw up next? Where was the 2005 Ball State or the 2006 (pick'em) game?
Those times are long gone people.
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WMU scored their first touchdown driving AGAINST the wind on a 4th down try (0-7). In NIU's first offensive drive, they went 57 yds to WMU's 17 when Harnish got picked off. The Huskies need to have stronger starts than this. The Huskies started their drive on the 14 yd line, rather than the 27 because of a personal foul penalty. A drop by Willie Clark would stall the 2nd drive, but he would more than make up for it later.
Tommy Davis returns the ball 32 yds off of the WMU kick with the wind. Nathan Palmer catches 2 crucial first downs and Harnish punches it in but we miss the extra point (6-7). WMU has a 42-yd kickoff return and they score on the short field with the wind again (6-14). Chad Spann bulldozes his way down the field and scores (13-14). The try for 2 doesn't work (OPI on Crider). Rashaan Melvin grabs a pick and the Huskies do nothing else on offense.
Huskies start off strong on offense highlighted by a 44-yd Spann run and a beautiful TD pass to NaPalm (20-14). A trade of punts and then WMU gets stopped on a passing attempt on 4th down. Great coverage by Garrett Barnas and Chris Smith.
WR Martel Moore looked really, really good at run blocking on the outside. He must be learning a lot from Landon Cox.
SS Tracy Wilson missed the tackle on WMU's initial touchdown and I don't think he played the rest of the game. I hope he's healthy and ready to go for Toledo.
We went against a MAC quarterback prodigy in Alex Carder, while he had two stud senior receivers to throw to all game. 31 of 53 for 360 yds and 3 TDs and 2 INTs is ridiculous. I fear that Toledo might just fling it around like WMU did and be more effective.
I know we were on the road, but the Huskies have to start out better in games. They need to not miss tackles, turn the ball over or slack off in kickoff coverage and then we're golden. It's not like WMU's offense was torching us, we just need to execute in all facets of the game. And please, no more breakdown in pass coverages like the last TD the Huskies gave up. We pretty much spotted WMU every single one of their points.