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Northern Illinois 43, Eastern Illinois 39: Huskies survive Panthers in shootout

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FINAL SCORE: The NIU Huskies defeat the EIU Panthers 43-39 in a Huskie Stadium barnburner.

Matthew Holst

Early Trickery

The start of this game - "HOLY COW" in the famous words of Harry Caray. EIU gets the ball and goes no huddle like they don't care and even convert a 4th and 3 on their own 47. A try for 2 fails. Ballsy, ballsy plays. 6-0 Panthers.

Onside kick. One passing play. 13-0 EIU.

3 and out by NIU.

EIU drive like crazy and again convert a 4th and 3 on their own own 43. LUDICROUS! They score and go up 20-0.

Do the Huskie panic? No, they score.. hold on lemme count them... 30 STRAIGHT UNANSWERED POINTS. Enough of your trickery Eastern, we came to play today.

The knighting of Cameron Stingily

Oh have you met our 6'1" 244 lb running back Eastern? Well, have you? All of a sudden it's BOOM two touchdowns in the red zone for The Stinger. His biggest play came in the 4th quarter with EIU up 39-36 all of a sudden BOOM 46 yard run to the Panther 12 yard line so Keith Harris Jr could punch in his second TD of the game. That would make it 43-39 which would end up being the final score.

Final stats: 21 carries for 134 yds and 2 beastly TDs. It's been so long since we had a big back that could run like this? Shades of AJ Harris? Finally someone can take the load off of Lynch for once.

Dirty Play

Bleh. NIU had 14 penalties for 126 yds and EIU had 14 penalties for 119 yds. Ugly game all around. It got pretty chippy out there. One EIU defender got ejected for targeting Angelo Sebastiano who had to be taken away on a stretcher. Who knows if he's gonna be all right. A lot of dumb plays out there, but at least this team is staying aggressive. There weren't too many serious penalties. Just a little work here and there can get things straightened out in a hurry.

Where is our defense aka #MACtion

We knew the Eastern offense was going to be good. But this good? Jimmy Garoppolo tied Tony Romo's EIU record for career TDs in this one. 450 yds with 6 TDs and 2 INTs. 577 total yds for the Panthers. Just unacceptable. The defense is going to receive a beating in the film room in preparation for Purdue. The secondary is supposed to be the strength of the defense but hasn't shown it these past couple weeks.

The defensive line did a nice job down the stretch getting pressure, but this team needs to start games off better. Thank goodness they can make corrections and score 30 points in a row. This can't happen in every game in MAC play. We just need to get that side of the ball straightened out. This year is a lot like 2011 where they started off horrible but came together and won the MAC. Let's strive for that achievement.