After staring into the teeth of Iowa’s offensive and defensive onslaught Saturday, the Huskies are getting a better view by looking ahead.
Looking ahead is about all NIU can do after being demolished 58-7 by the 9th-ranked Hawkeyes and suffering a physical beating against last year’s Big Ten champs.
“We’ve got seven games left, and quite honestly, we should have a chance to win most of those games,” NIU head coach Charlie Sadler said. “We want our seniors to walk away from this season with a winning season. I expect this team to finish up with a winning season.”
But the loss to the Hawkeyes not only dropped NIU’s record to 1-3, the Huskies took a physical beating as well.
Linebacker Nick Jones suffered an injured neck and is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech. Steve Rodgers, Brett Schroeder and Corey Blake were also injured against Iowa but are listed as probable for the Louisiana Tech match.
“We knew we were going to have a very tough game on our hands from the onset,” Sadler said. “Iowa is a very solid, exceptional football team.”
Iowa head coach Hayden Fry had nothing but praise for NIU from his vantage point atop the victors’ throne.
“We feel real fortunate to be 3-0,” Fry said. “We got off to a slow start and Northern Illinois played well early … They have a good team. Charlie Sadler will do a good job with his program.
“Charlie’s guys hung in there, they didn’t roll over and play dead,” said Fry.
The Huskies are confident they won’t roll over and play dead for the remainder of the season either.
“I think we have enough character to come back,” quarterback Stacey McKinney said. “I think (the game) will help us out when we go to Florida … because we know what it takes, we just have to pick up our tempo and our aggressiveness.”
“I think it’ll help us,” echoed linebacker Steve Henriksen. “Coming up against good competition will always help you.
“It’s a learning experience … they’re a Big Ten team, they have players three deep as good as our number one starters. There’s nothing we can do about it now, (but) we still have seven games left.”
The fact that the big Iowa win was expected did not soften the blow for Sadler. “No matter who it’s against, you should never accept losing,” Sadler said. “I want our players to detest losing.”
‘The sellout crowd of 70,220 represented the third largest attendance ever to witness an NIU football game. The top two games both came at Nebraska.
‘Fullback Adam Dach had a tough day against the Hawkeyes, gaining 38 yards on seven carries. The Huskies rushed for only 123 yards total.
‘Stacey McKinney also had problems passing against Iowa’s dominating pass rush. McKinney was 3-of-13 passing for 31 yards and one interception. He was sacked five times.
‘NIU wrestler/tailback T.C. Dantzler made an impressive debut late in the game. Dantzler, who is a top wrestler for the Huskies, walked on the football squad and has seen some action on special teams. Saturday, Dantzler touched the ball twice as a running back and had runs of 16 and 12 yards.