Streaking Huskies again don their rally caps in win over Ball State
BY STEVE NITZ Shaw Media October 6, 2012 9:44PM
Updated: November 8, 2012 12:23PM
MUNCIE, Ind. — Perseverance was the word of the week for Northern Illinois.
Throughout the season, the Huskies have had to persevere, often being forced to come from behind in the second half. NIU had two second-half comebacks before Saturday’s game at Ball State.
Down by nine points in the fourth quarter Saturday at Scheumann Stadium, the Huskies were forced to erase another deficit. Like they have done so many times this season, the Huskies persevered, beating Ball State 35-23.
Junior running back Akeem Daniels scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 54-yard pass from Jordan Lynch with 4:58 left in the game, and Lynch capped the scoring with a 71-yard touchdown run with just over three minutes to go.
NIU improved to 5-1 — 2-0 in the Mid-American Conference — retained the Bronze Stalk trophy and has won five in a row since a season-opening loss to Iowa. Ball State fell to 3-3, 1-2.
“I don’t know if I could have picked a better word for the team,” NIU coach Dave Doeren said after the game. “I really thought [offensive coordinator] Rod Carey called some key plays there. The route to Akeem was a big-time call, and Jordan threw a great ball.”
Lynch ran for 207 yards and scored three touchdowns, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. He was 16-for-23 passing for 195 yards and a touchdown.
The junior’s third rushing TD came on the play that has worked so well, the quarterback draw. Lynch took the snap, went right, got past the defensive line and was gone.
“There’s only so much you can do to it before we take advantage of something else,” Lynch said. “It’s just a matter of time before I find a crease.”
Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning also had a busy day, going 42 of 71 through the air for 434 yards and a touchdown. Wenning’s completion and attempt totals were school records.
But Wenning made a couple of costly mistakes, throwing two interceptions. Safety Jimmie Ward had one of the interceptions, with Michael Santacaterina getting the other. Demetrius Stone recovered a fumble for NIU’s third turnover.
“Going into the game we knew they were going to go straight to pass,” NIU safety Jimmie Ward said. “We had a whole bunch of man coverage and different type of schemes to kind of confuse the quarterback.”
The Huskies’ defense bent at times, which is shown by Ball State’s 563 yards of total offense, but NIU came up big when it needed to. The defense forced the Cardinals to attempt five field goals, two of which kicker Steven Schott missed.
“I thought the defense had a ton of huge stops today,” Doeren said. “After momentum plays from their side of the ball we found a way to stand. ... Just really proud of the resiliency of our defense.”