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NIU survives at lowly Buffalo on botched PAT

Updated: November 24, 2011 8:37AM

BUFFALO, N.Y. — After cruising to a 21-point lead, Northern Illinois needed a missed extra point to beat Buffalo 31-30 on Saturday.

Buffalo (2-6, 1-2 Mid-American Conference) rallied from a 31-10 deficit with 20 points in the fourth quarter, but the missed kick by Peter Fardon with 14 seconds to play ended the Bulls’ comeback.

“We made one more play than they did,” NIU head coach Dave Doeren said. “I was pretty disappointed in the finish. We didn’t get any first downs in the fourth quarter, we didn’t convert third downs in the fourth quarter and we couldn’t stop them on fourth down on defense. We’ve got to learn to close games a little bit better. We’ve got to play better than that.”

NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish finished with 150 passing yards on 11 of 26 attempts and also ran for 67 yards on 12 carries. His 6-yard TD run gave the Huskies a 17-10 halftime lead. Harnish moved into first place in career completions at Northern Illinois (5-3, 3-1) and within 91 yards of 10th place on the Huskies’ career rushing list.

Jasmin Hopkins led the Huskies’ rushing attack, carrying 19 times for 55 yards and adding 3 touchdowns. But in the end, it took a break.

“When it came down to that final point, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. We were lucky right there,” NIU linebacker Pat Schiller said.

AP, Sun-Times wires

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