Huskies aim to just keep rolling
BY LACY J. BANKS firstname.lastname@example.org
Just how good a football season is Northern Illinois having-
As the Huskies get set to play Western Michigan on Saturday in Kalamazoo, Mich., consider these facts:
?NIU's overall record of 6-2 makes it the first Illinois school to became bowl-eligible -- ahead of Northwestern (5-2) and Illinois (4-3).
?The Huskies, who are 4-0 in the Mid-American Conference, have won their last five games -- the longest such streak since 2004, when they won six straight.
?NIU has outscored its last five opponents 193-75, including 62-0 in the second half of the last three.
?Coach Jerry Kill has led NIU to a bowl his first two years. If the Huskies earn a bid this season, it will be the first time the school has gone to three straight bowls.
?Quarterback Chandler Harnish is the conference's most efficient passer, completing 105 of 157 attempts for 1,225 yards and 10 touchdowns with three interceptions.
?Tailback Chad Spann leads the conference in rushing with 854 yards and 11 touchdowns, and NIU is averaging a MAC-high 247 rushing yards per game.
While all these things are good, Kill keeps taking everything in stride.
''I haven't even mentioned [bowl eligibility] yet,'' he said. ''I'm kind of 'survive and advance' in life -- period. One day at a time. That's pretty much what we have done, and it's worked so far. It's great for our program and for our fans. But we have to close our door from everybody and just do what we do.''
Left tackle Trevor Olson believes he knows the recipe for success. NIU has scored at least 31 points in its last five games.
''Once we get to that 30-point mark, it's been pretty good,'' Olson said. ''That's our goal.''
Kill has another formula.
''To win, we have to snap the ball 75 times, hold opponents to 55 snaps and not turn the ball over,'' he said.
In the Broncos (3-4, 2-1), the Huskies face a solid passing attack led by sophomore quarterback Alex Carder (170-for-275, 1,939 yards, 15 touchdowns, nine interceptions).