Seniors get fired up and burn Illinois St.

By David Lance

Saturday afternoon’s football game was the last at Huskie Stadium for NIU seniors, so it was imperative to them that they win.

“It’s been a long season,” senior defensive end Scott Van Bellinger said. “I figured I’d get a little fired up for this one. At least go out with a win at home to make the season a little better.”

It’s been a long time coming, exactly eight weeks, but the Huskies won their second game of the season. They beat Illinois State 27-24 thanks in part to Bellinger and fellow senior, fullback Adam Dach.

Bellinger tied a school record for most tackles for losses in a game with five. Dach was the game’s leading rusher with 135 yards on 18 carries.

Van Bellinger also had 16 total tackles.

“It seemed like every time we ran a stunt or a blitz or something like that, I just would come free,” Van Bellinger said. “Every time we had a stunt, it was the perfect stunt for that offensive play they were running.”

Dach scored a touchdown on a first-quarter, 55-yard run. He also had a 34-yard run in the second half.

“I haven’t had too many of those kind of runs this year,” Dach said. “I think I almost forgot.

“From my standpoint, it’s hard to believe I’ll never play another game here. I’ll miss playing here. We’re football players. It doesn’t matter where you’re at. If you’re not playing football anymore, you’re going to miss it.”

NIU head coach Charlie Sadler said the win was welcome for many reasons, but one stands above all.

“Number one,” Sadler said, “is to allow our seniors, who have experienced many successes here at Huskie Stadium, to walk away with a victory, which they’ve been a part of so many since they’ve been here.”