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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

NIU football’s defense takes over Huskie of the Week

Ria Pathak
NIU football’s defense shut down Ohio University in the final 30 minutes of Saturday’s game. The defense’s collective performance earned them Northern Star’s first group Huskie of the Week honor. (Ria Pathak | Northern Star)

DeKALB – After pitching the second-half shutout to clinch a victory against the Ohio University Bobcats in the 116th annual Homecoming game, NIU’s defense collectively received Huskie Of the Week honors.

NIU faced a 13-7 deficit after conceding 188 total yards and 12 first downs in the first half. The Huskie defense held Ohio to just 66 total yards and kept them out of the endzone for the remainder of the contest.

NIU picked off Bobcats graduate student quarterback and reigning MAC Offensive Player of the Year Kurtis Rourke on three consecutive offensive possessions. Redshirt sophomore safety Cyrus McGarrell set up NIU for a chip shot field goal after netting a 35-yard return following his interception. 

Junior safety Nate Valcarcel ripped away Rourke’s pass on the Bobcats’ next offensive drive, followed by junior cornerback Javaughn Byrd’s interception on the following possession to put Saturday’s game on ice. 

NIU football secured its second conference victory of the season and are now separated by one game from the third-place spot in the MAC West. 

The Huskies continue their home stand at 2:30 p.m. Saturday for a matchup against Eastern Michigan University at Huskie Stadium.

Next week’s Huskie of the Week will be announced on Oct. 23.

The Northern Star sports section’s Huskie of the Week is voted for on a weekly basis. Student-athletes considered for this week’s edition were chosen based on their weekly performance in competitions taking place from Oct. 9 to Oct. 15.

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