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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Football to battle for Bronze Stalk

Courtesy NIU Athletics
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Jalon Johnson attempts to catch the ball in the snow against Central Michigan last Tuesday. The Huskies will look to reclaim the Bronze Stalk Trophy on Tuesday against Ball State. (Courtesy of NIU Athletics)

DeKALB – NIU football (4-5, 3-2 MAC) seeks to return the Bronze Stalk Trophy back to DeKalb in Week 2 of MACtion against Ball State University (2-7, 1-4 MAC).

During Tuesday’s game against CMU, NIU found itself trailing by a 24-3 margin at halftime. The defense conceded points on four of five complete drives.

Despite shutting out the Chippewas in the fourth quarter and forcing four consecutive three-and-out possessions, NIU fell just short, losing 37-31.

“I thought we came storming back, was in a position to have a chance to win the game and didn’t get it done at the end,” said NIU football head coach Thomas Hammock. “But I like the resolve of our football team. I think it goes to show the type of guys we have in our program.”

Tuesday’s game was met with heavy snowfall, creating a wet and slippery playing ground.

In the face of challenging harsh weather conditions, senior linebacker DaRon Gilbert contends that battling against the elements will benefit the team moving forward.  

“I think it just really helps us, like focus on our technique obviously when the ground’s a little bit wet and slippery,” Gilbert said. “You kind of got to make sure that you guys take the right steps to get in the correct position, and I think that can help us moving forward.”


The Bronze Stalk Trophy will be bestowed upon the victor of Tuesday’s contest. Since 2008, NIU and BSU have competed for this trophy each season.

“It’s a beautiful trophy,” Hammock said. “One that you know would love to have a chance to touch after the end of the game. But in order for us to do that, we got to play – we got to play a great game of football.”

Following its come-from-behind victory over NIU on Oct. 1, 2022, BSU now holds possession of the Bronze Stalk Trophy.

NIU held a 24-7 advantage at halftime before BSU went on a 37-14 run to win the game in overtime.

Hammock prioritized reuniting NIU with the Bronze Stalk Trophy and ensuring that his team executes their assignments.

“Last year was last year right? But we want to have an opportunity to keep the stalk in DeKalb,” Hammock said. “In order to do that, we have to play well. We have to protect the football, we have to execute our assignments. And that’s the only thing we’re talking about.”


With eligibility for the final month of the season, a few freshmen have the opportunity to make their college debut on Tuesday.

“We have some young guys that are ready to go,” Hammock said. “(Freshman) Jaylen Poe is a young running back that the last couple of weeks – he’s looked excellent. (Freshman) Kyle Thomas is a young wide receiver that’s done a nice job. We’re gonna give him some opportunities.”


NIU hosts BSU at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Huskie Stadium. The game will be televised on CBSSN, and live stats will be available via SideArm Stats.

“It (the Bronze Stalk Trophy) comes home with us,” said redshirt junior wide receiver Trayvon Rudolph. “So not having it here with us – now that’s a big chip on our shoulder. So, I feel like we’re prepared and ready to bring it back to the house.”

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