Huskies to take off-week lightly

By Wes Swietek

For the first time this season, the NIU football team is guaranteed of not losing a game this coming weekend.

But that’s true only because the Huskies have the week off after dropping a 13-12 decision to Southwestern Louisiana Saturday.

Head coach Charlie Sadler said the Huskies (1-8) would practice lightly this week and start preparing for NIU’s next opponent, Illinois State. The coaching staff will also spend part of the week on the recruiting trail, Sadler said.

A major NIU villain in Saturday’s loss was the five turnovers committed by the Huskies.

Sadler admitted he was upset with the numerous turnovers, but his displeasure was tempered by the mitigating circumstances.

“My feeling on turnovers is that the more inexperienced you are, the more turnovers you have,” Sadler said. “Sometimes I felt like getting upset at the mistakes we made and then I looked to see who made it, and it was a freshman or a red-shirt freshman.

“(It’s) inexperience in so many ways, (but) you’d think at this time of the season we wouldn’t be inexperienced.”

Another factor that made the turnovers more palatable was the harsh weather conditions. The wind chill at game time was estimated to be 25 below zero with a 20-30 mph wind making every air-borne ball an adventure.

“We felt we could throw the ball, the weather took that away from us,” said USL head coach Nelson Stokley who called Saturday’s playing conditions the worst he’s ever encountered.

Sadler could only recall a 1985 game in Oklahoma during an ice storm as having worse game conditions.

‘Sadler said after Saturday’s loss that he will continue rotating quarterbacks, which suits backup Rob Rugai just fine. “I just want to play, if that’s what it takes—splitting time—that’s better than not playing at all,” Rugai said.

‘As he has done all season, Huskies’ linebacker Steve Henriksen led NIU’s defense with 19 tackles, giving him 142 on the season. The senior entered Saturday’s game with the second-most tackles in Division I-A.

‘To reward the hearty souls who braved Saturday’s wicked weather, NIU Athletic Director Gerald O’Dell announced that ticket-stub holders from Saturday’s game will be allowed into certain sections of Huskie Stadium at the Nov. 16 Illinois State game for free.

‘The heroes for the Ragin’ Cajuns who gave USL its first victory of the season Saturday are a pair of walk-ons. Place kicker Richie Cunningham, who booted two field goals including the game winner, and cornerback Harold Nash, who returned a faked-punt 71 yards for a touchdown, were both non-scholarship additions to the Ragin‘ Cajun roster.

‘USL’s win was the first for the Cajuns in the 1991 season. USL was 0-7-1 prior to Saturday’s triumph.