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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Football eyes bounce-back victory against Tulsa

Mark Kuhlmann | NIU Athletics
Redshirt senior quarterback Rocky Lombardi hands the ball off to redshirt junior running back Gavin Williams in a 35-11 loss against the University of Nebraska. The Huskies travel to Central Michigan looking to stay ahead of the Chippewas in the MAC West standings. (Mark Kuhlmann | NIU Athletics)

DeKALB – Coming off a 35-11 blowout loss at the University of Nebraska, NIU football (1-2) hosts the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-2) in its final game of non-conference play. 


The Huskies were out gained by over 200 yards against the Cornhuskers and didn’t find the endzone until the final minute of the game. 

“Everybody on offense needs to play better,” said NIU head football coach Thomas Hammock. “There’s not one guy on offense right now where you can say ‘This guy is playing so well right now, there’s nothing more that he can do.’”

Both NIU and Tulsa come in on a downward trend, losers of their last two games. Tulsa has played much stiffer competition than NIU, dropping its last two games against No. 8 Washington University and No. 16 Oklahoma University. 

The Huskies and the Golden Hurricane matched up in week two at Tulsa last season, with Tulsa narrowly winning a 38-35 shootout. Hammock is hoping that his team can return to its explosive offensive ways, as they did in last year’s game against Tulsa.

“I hope we can play great offense on Saturday,” Hammock said. “I don’t know what kind of game to expect at this moment, but I know our kids are working extremely hard to play better. We have to go make the plays when it matters on Saturday.” 


Despite the struggles of the offense, Hammock praised the play of his defense after they were on the field for over 36 minutes against Nebraska last week.

“Our defensive line played phenomenal,” Hammock said. “(junior defensive tackle) Devonte O’Malley, (redshirt sophomore defensive end) George Gumbs, (senior defensive end) Raishein Thomas made exceptional plays. The whole team needs to see that.”

After scoring 27 points in their Week 1 win, the Huskies have managed just 22 total points over the past two weeks. 

“What we’ve been talking about this week is just simplifying things down and getting back to the basics of things,” said redshirt senior offensive tackle Nolan Potter. “We’re trying to get back to the offense that we’ve had the past couple years.”

In order for the Huskies to get back on track, Hammock feels that the focus must be on bettering themselves before worrying about their opponents. 

“We’re really just focusing on us and how we can perform better,” Hammock said. “The opponent is nameless and faceless. It’s about us and how we need to prepare, how we need to play, the energy we need to have and the execution level we need to have. That’s the most important thing we’re trying to do right now.”

The Huskies take on Tulsa at 11 a.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network and live stats will be available via SideArm Stats.

“We have a motto around here to go 1-0 every week,” said junior cornerback Javaughn Byrd. “Everybody will do their job and put it all out there on Saturday.”

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