Wishbone picks apart UNLV’s No. 7 rushing defense for 461 yards

By Thom Gippert

The “bone” mended quite nicely Saturday for NIU as the offense put some big numbers on the board.

After a week of frustration stemming from a 42-21 loss to Louisiana Tech, the NIU wishbone offense rebounded to score 42 points, the most points in a single game since 1978 when NIU defeated Illinois State 49-21.

Quarterback Stacey Robinson and Co. dominated a UNLV defense that ranked seventh nationally against the run, yielding only 83 yards per game. NIU’s wishbone attack entered the contest with the seventh best ground game in the country averaging 311 yards per game.

When the final numbers were tallied, NIU racked up 389 yards rushing and 72 yards via the passing game with a total offensive output of 461 yards.

Robinson, the junior quarterback, led a balanced Huskie offense by gaining 96 yards rushing while throwing for 72 yards.

Adam Dach, the powerful fullback, netted 82 yards running the ball and true-freshman Raymond Patterson collected 77 yards rushing.

For Robinson and Dach those are usual numbers, but for Patterson, those are impressive statistics for someone making his first collegiate start.

“Raymond played extremely well in his first start, he’s got a lot of talent, ability and the opportunity to get a lot better,” NIU head coach Jerry Pettibone said of the halfback from of Kinloch, Missouri.

Patterson and redshirt freshman Tyrone Isaac got the starting nod at the halfback positions because of injuries to starters Mike Strasser and Brett Schroeder and the two newcomers made the most of their opportunities.

“Our two starting halfbacks didn’t even suit up today. Injuries to two players created the opportunity for two others. Raymond and Tyrone did a great job,” Pettibone said.

But Saturday was another banner day for Robinson as he accounted for four of the five Huskie touchdowns.

Robinson had touchdown dashes of 16 and 2 yards and touchdown completions of 35 and 14 yards. Altogether this season “Sauce” has nine touchdowns rushing and three passing and is currently the eleventh leading rusher in the nation.

While Robinson basks in the glory of outstanding statistics, he believes the offensive line deserves a lot of the credit.

“The Hogs up front make every read easy, they blow the defensive line off the ball every trip. They make it real easy for me,” Robinson said.

Last week NIU’s offense was limited to 21 points by Louisiana Tech, but the consensus among the offense was that they were ready to explode.

“This was the week to turn things around. We were back in the doghouse, we were fired up ready to get back on track,” said Hog-guard Scott Elliot.

Pettibone also knew the offense was ready to get moving.

“I’ve wanted our offense to explode and we’ve been close to doing that. We have always been right there where if we can go out and execute down after down we can put those kind of numbers on the board,” Pettibone said.