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Chandler Harnish leads way in Northern Illinois rout

Updated: December 10, 2011 10:00AM

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Bowling Green ran into a human hurricane Tuesday night at Doyt Perry Stadium.

His name is Chandler Harnish, fifth-year senior quarterback for Northern Illinois.

“If he’s not the best player in the [Mid-American Conference], he’s definitely one of the top three,” Falcons coach Dave Clawson said. “Tonight, he beat us with his arms and his legs. He’s an excellent player. We played as hard as we could, but we just could not tackle him. Plus, we were just overmatched up front on both sides of the ball.”

Harnish rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown and passed for 294 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Huskies (7-3, 5-1) to a 45-14 rout of the Falcons (4-6, 2-4).

After the first possession of the fourth quarter, when Harnish ran five yards for his touchdown to give NIU a 38-14 lead, NIU coach Dave Doeren took him out.

“This was our best road game of the year,” Doeren said. “We played a perfect game. When your team rushes for 283 yards and the other rushes for 79, you win those games. Again, Harnish was incredible. He played so hard. Some of those runs he created on his own.”

It was the fifth consecutive win for the Huskies, who probably sealed their fourth straight post-season appearance.

Harnish now has 1,022 rushing yards for the season to become the first NIU quarterback to run for 1,000 since Stacey Robinson did it in 1990.

“They made us move the ball out of the pocket a lot,” Harnish said. ‘‘But they didn’t have an answer for us. We ran a lot of play-action, and our receivers made the catches.”

The Huskies’ offense totaled 623 yards, but Doeren was just as pleased with his team’s defense.

On the Falcons’ first play, quarterback Matt Schilz shocked NIU with an 83-yard touchdown pass to Kamar Jorden to give his team its only lead.

But for the rest of the game, the Huskies shut down Bowling Green while their offense scored 24 unanswered points, starting with Harnish’s 56-yard touchdown pass to Willie Clark. The Huskies also got another touchdown by Clark, two by Akeem Daniels, one by Harnish and a 23-yard field goal by Matt Sims.

“People have been saying a lot of bad things about our defense,” Doeren said. “But they were great tonight.”

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