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Huskies win GoDaddy.com Bowl 38-20

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Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 1:42 am | Updated: 2:41 pm, Fri Aug 29, 2014.

After a 36-day hiatus, all NIU did for an encore was come back from 13 points down to beat Arkansas State 38-20 to win the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
“I’m really proud of our guys and our coaches to win nine in-a-row and a bowl game is great,” said NIU head coach Dave Doeren. “It was fun. I’m proud of the Huskies and our fans.”
Arkansas State (10-3) got off to a fast start, scoring two field goals and a touchdown on its first three possessions. However, the Red Wolves were stopped twice in the red zone by NIU’s (11-3) defense, which allowed zero points to Arkansas State after the first quarter of play.
NIU found its rhythm toward the end of the first quarter, as quarterback Chandler Harnish engineered an 11-play, 77-yard drive and found receiver Perez Ashford for a nine yard touchdown pass.
The Huskies suffered a scare in the second quarter when Harnish went down with a bum ankle, but back-up quarterback Jordan Lynch hit receiver Martel Moore on a 41 yard pass that set up his three yard touchdown run to give the Huskies a 14 to 13 lead.
Shortly after the Red Wolves failed again to start moving the ball on offense, Harnish came back into the game to a standing ovation and promptly led the Huskies downfield for another score.
NIU capitalized on two key Red Wolves mistakes; a muffed punt and a roughing the kicker penalty. These errors kept the ball in NIU's hands and eventually set up a Jamal Womble touchdown run to put it up 21-13 at the half.
“The penalties really hurt us,” said David Gunn, Arkansas State interim head coach. “They were momentum swingers, and they were certainly the difference in the ball game.”
Arkansas State intercepted Harnish when Red Wolves defensive back Chaz Scales ripped the ball out of the hands of NIU wide receiver Nathan Palmer. Red Wolves quarterback Ryan Aplin’s tipped pass fell into the hands of NIU defensive back Jhony Faustin on the very next play, setting up a 43 yard bomb from Harnish to Moore, putting the Huskies up 28-13.
The Huskies defense kept up the pressure as defensive end Stephen O’Neal sacked Aplin, forcing a fumble on the Red Wolves six yard line that was recovered by NIU.
The Huskies placekicker Matt Sims missed his second field goal of the day following the exchange, but it didn’t matter; Aplin could not get into a comfortable rhythm with his receivers, repeatedly overthrowing, underthrowing and missing open connections.
After Sims made a 22 yard field goal to give NIU a 31 to 13 advantage going into the fourth quarter, the Red Wolves responded with a 17 yard fingertip touchdown catch by Taylor Stockemer, pulling ASU within 11 points, making the score 31 to 20.
Neither team had much a running game at all, as the Huskies had 24 yards on 25 carries and the Red Wolves managed 20 yards on 25 carries.
The game was largely decided through the air. Stockemer caught 11 passes for 185 yards for th Red Wolves, while Moore had eight receptions for 224 yards and Ashford was targeted heavily, hauling in eight receptions for 80 yard.
Harnish, who took a beating at the hands of the Red Wolves defense, finished with 274 passing yards, two touchdowns on 18-36 passing attempts.

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