Football notebook

By Dan Moran and Dave Tuley

MUNCIE, Ind.—NIU came into the game tied for fourth in the nation in turnover ratio with a plus-1.6 ranking.

Normally you wouldn’t expect such a team to fumble eight times, but that’s what the Huskies did Saturday. You also wouldn’t expect all eight of those fumbles to be recovered by the Huskies, but they were.


owever, Ball State did manage to pick off a Marshall Taylor pass to set up their fourth touchdown. It was the Huskies’ only turnover of the day, but it also killed Taylor’s string of 78 pass attempts without an interception, dating back to the second game of the year against Western Michigan.

Long-snapper Joe Spillane, who left last week’s game with a neck strain, made the trip to Ball State but did not travel with the team Friday. Pettibone said men’s basketball secretary Sandy Gilchrist volunteered to drive Spillane to Muncie Saturday morning so he could attend his law classes.

Huskie boss Jerry Pettibone said the overwhelming loss would be “a real gut check for the coaches, and a character check for the players. I’m counting on the right response.”

Assistant coach Pat Ruel said he did not know the reason Ball State has won 13 of 14 from NIU, but, “we’re going to find out what the hell it is and do something about it.”

Down 42-17 in the fourth quarter, the Huskies resorted to trickery when Kent Iwema took a pitch from Pete Genatempo and tried an option pass back to Genatempo. The senior quarterback made a diving attempt, which one official ruled successful and back judge Eugene Wodzisz overruled.

“I caught it,” Genatempo said. “The ref who made the call was behind the play—way out of position. I tried to ask him about it. He didn’t say anything.”

Former NIU coach Bill Mallory’s Indiana Hoosiers fell out of first place in the Big Ten with a 29-21 loss at Iowa Saturday.