NIU QB Chandler Harnish drops back to pass against Army. NIU photo
Army 6 0 0 20 — 26
N. Illinois 14 21 14 0 — 49
NIU—Stephen 16 blocked punt return (Sims kick), 13:43. Army—Turrentine 14 run (kick failed), 2:37. NIU—Eakes 13 pass from Harnish (Sims kick), 1:36.
NIU—Palmer 19 pass from Harnish (Sims kick), 14:50. NIU—Daniels 6 pass from Harnish (Sims kick), 12:49. NIU—Harnish 1 run (Sims kick), 7:29.
NIU—Womble 58 pass from Harnish (Sims kick), 10:16. NIU—M.Moore 4 pass from Harnish (Sims kick), 1:20.
Army—Steelman 2 run (pass failed), 14:35. Army—Brown 1 run (Steelman run), 8:27. Army—McFarlin 11 pass from Jenkins (pass failed), :12.
TEAM STATISTICS Army NIU
First downs 24 26
Rushes-yards 63-303 47-289
Passing 106 220
Comp-Att-Int 7-16-1 15-24-1
Return Yards 2 21
Punts-Avg. 3-41.7 2-37.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties-Yards 6-51 5-40
Time of Possession 32:59 27:01
RUSHING—Army, Brown 9-92, Turrentine 11-68, Steelman 17-37, Maples 5-25, Crucitti 2-21, Odocha 3-20, Dixon 7-19, Hassin 7-16, Jenkins 1-6, Cobbs 1-(minus 1). N. Illinois, Hopkins 14-138, Harnish 11-80, Womble 7-37, Daniels 4-22, W.Clark 1-8, Lynch 1-8, Settle 6-2, Team 3-(minus 6).
PASSING—Army, Steelman 5-11-1-86, Jenkins 2-5-0-20. N. Illinois, Harnish 12-19-1-195, Lynch 3-5-0-25.
RECEIVING—Army, McFarlin 4-35, Brooks 1-37, Brown 1-25, Lawrence 1-9. N. Illinois, M.Moore 4-46, Daniels 3-36, Womble 2-58, Johnson 2-32, J.Wells 2-16, Palmer 1-19, Eakes 1-13.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS (1-0)
Sept. 3 Army W, 49-26
Sept. 10 at Kansas TBA
Sept. 17 Wisconsin 2:30
Sept. 24 Cal Poly 2:30
Oct. 1 at C. Michigan 2:30
Oct. 8 Kent State 2:30
Oct. 15 W. Michigan TBA
Oct. 22 at Buffalo 11 a.m.
Nov. 1 at Toledo 6
Nov. 8 at Bowling Green 7
Nov. 15 Ball State 7
Nov. 25 Eastern Michigan TBA
Updated: November 5, 2011 2:16PM
DEKALB, Ill. — Behind a spectacular game by quarterback Chandler Harnish, coach Dave Doeren began his Northern Illinois career with a bang, beating Army 49-26 on Saturday night.
“I’m very proud of the way our fans stayed and supported us despite the bad weather, and I’m proud of how our guys responded,” Doeren said. “They played loose, played hard and played together. Our players took the game plan, detailed it and made it theirs.”
Harnish completed 12 of 20 passes for 195 yards and a career-high five touchdowns as the Huskies gained 509 yards of total offense.
Harnish, who sat out the fourth quarter, also ran for 80 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. But he also fumbled, was sacked and threw an interception.
“I just got a little sloppy with the ball at times,” Harnish said. “Our offensive line did a fantastic job helping us to run the ball well. We made a few mistakes. I took a sack on a sprint-out. But I like the way we recovered when we made up for those mistakes.”
The NIU defense recovered two fumbles, picked off a pass and limited Army to 221 total yards.
Northern Illinois, playing its season opener at home for the first time in eight years, also got a career-high 138 rushing yards on 14 carries from running back Jasmin Hopkins.
Quarterback Trent Steelman led coach Rich Ellerson’s Black Knights, passing for 86 yards, running for 37 yards and scoring a touchdown.
“That’s got to be on me,” Ellerson said of the loss. “We didn’t come to play, and we did not give them our best shot. We pride ourselves on being a disciplined outfit. But we were everything but.”
So much was said about Ellerson’s triple-option offense and his double-eagle-flex pressure defense. But the Huskies jumped on Army early and often.
After lightning and a brief downpour delayed the start of the game by 12 minutes, the no-huddle Huskies struck like lightning, needing just 77 seconds to score the first touchdown.
Jimmie Ward blocked Kolin Walk’s punt at Army’s 16-yard line, and Courtney Stephen ran it in for the game’s first score.
“That game could not have started any better for us,” Doeren said.
On the third possession, the Huskies appeared headed for a two-touchdown lead, but Harnish ended the 14-play, 68-yard drive by fumbling. Seven plays later, Army’s Trenton Turrentine scored a 14-yard touchdown on the first carry of his career.
But the rest of the game belonged to the Huskies, who scored 42 consecutive points to blow the game open.
Harnish threw touchdown passes to Luke Eakes (the first of his career), Nathan Palmer, running back Akeem Daniels, running back Jamal Womble and Martel Moore.