A look back at Homecomings past

When NIU takes on the Toledo Rockets Saturday, it will be the 80th time the Huskies have played a Homecoming contest.

Last year’s script wasn’t written too well, as NIU went down to a 20-6 defeat to Miami (Ohio) on a cold, rainy, late October day.

But this is a new year, and to set you in the right mood, The Northern Star sports staff has scoured the microfilm files to find game stories from the 1983, 1979 and 1975 Homecoming games. To anyone who graduated after 1975, we hope these stories bring back some memories.

983 Homecoming game—NIU 24, Bowling Green 23

by Jeff Wendland

Mother Nature and Bowling Green spent the first 30 minutes of Saturday’s NIU football game raining on the Huskies’ Homecoming, but one of the greatest comebacks in Huskie football history turned the day around completely with a final score of 24-23.

The rain, which began Friday and continued throughout most of Saturday, held down an anticipated crowd of 30,000 to an announced 18,500. Meanwhile, a combination of Bowling Green quarterback Brian McClure’s passing and numerous Huskie mistakes led to a Falcon 20-0 lead at the half.

By the time the second half began, the rain had subsided and the Huskies were ready to make their move. On their initial possession from the Falcon 43, NIU quarterback Tim Tyrrell kept on an option around the right end and scampered into the end zone. Tyrrell ended the day with 147 yards on 20 carries, including 16 carries for 144 yards in the second half. Vince Scott’s extra point was blocked and the score stood at 20-6.

On the ensuing kick-off, the Falcon return man ran into a pack of Huskies at the 30 and the ball popped loose. Rick Considine fell on it at the BGSU 27 and the crowd began to believe the Huskies could do it.

Tyrrell had to sneak on a fourth and inches from the 18 and made it by less than the length of the football. He then took the ball to the five where Richardson raced in for the score. A two-point conversion try failed and it was 20-12.

The Falcons tried to regain their composure and momentum with a drive to the Huskie 14 late in the third quarter. But a big third and one stop by Scott Kellar forced the Falcons to settle for a 31-yard field goal to make the score 32-12.

Things did not look any better for the Huskies when they began the fourth quarter on their own three-yard line. Facing a third and seven at the six, Tyrrell coolly spotted Curt Pardridge along the sidelines for a 30-yard gain.

Tyrrell then kept for 16 yards, hit Carl Aikens for gains of 19 and 21, and the Huskies were inside the Falcon five. A penalty and an incomplete pass brought up a third down at the 10.

Bowling Green then began to self-destruct with back-to-back penalties and Tyrrell was able to lunge in for the score on a fourth down from the one. Again, the Huskies failed on a try for two points and the score stood at 23-18.

The Huskie defense stopped McClure cold once again (he had only 56 yards passing in the second half versus 163 in the first half.) Tyrrell again made a couple of big plays, including a 20-yard scramble out of the pocket into Falcon territory.

The drive stalled at the 21 and Scott closed the gap to two points with a 38-yard field goal.

Following the kick-off and a great one-on-one tackle by Clarence Vaughn at the Falcon 10, Doug Bartlett nearly sacked McClure in the end zone for what would have been a game-tying safety. The defense continued to hold firm and Jim Phelp’s punt was fair caught at the 50.

With a boisterous student crowd on its collective feet, Tyrrell faked everyone out on the first play and picked up 12 yards to the BGSU 38. He then picked up another 20 yards one play later.

The offense set the ball at the 10 for Scott to try to win the game. He was perfect from 27 yards and the crowd was in ecstasy.

The crowd rose to its feet to salute the Huskies over the final minute. And, with about 15 seconds remaining in the game, the students rushed the north end zone and tore down the goal post. They carried it to the lagoon outside Stevenson North, where it was recovered by the university.

979 Homecoming game—SIU-Carbondale 21, NIU 11

by Ron Kremer

A record crowd of 23,740 saw the Salukis from Southern Illinois spoil NIU’s 71st Homecoming by knocking off the Huskies 21-11 Saturday in Huskie Stadium.

The disheartened throng did not have much to cheer about. After taking the opening kick-off the Huskies drove 57 yards in eight plays to take a 3-0 lead on Rome Moga’s 26-yard field goal in the game’s first series. It was downhill from there for the Huskies.

NIU coach Pat Culpepper thought his team might have let down some after the initial drive.

“We’re not giving up. That’s what we are not doing,” Culpepper said. “Our football team got beaten today because we didn’t play our kicking game very well at the end of the game. Period. That’s it.”

Trailing 14-3 after a dismal first half, Culpepper’s squad got it together in the third quarter, dominating play and cutting its deficit to only three points. Alex Armato’s fourth down plunge into the Saluki end zone from one yard away with 2:46 left in the quarter made the score 14-9.

The Huskies elected to go for a two-point conversion and John Gibbons easily made it in on an option keeper around left end. That made the score 14-11.

With just six minutes to play, the NIU defense looked as though they provided the Huskie offensive unit with its golden opportunity.

NIU punter Jim Hannula set up the action by pinning SIU deep into their own territory when he connected on a 64-yard punt with 8:37 to play.

Tackles by Bob Morgan, Steve Claussen and Greg Castle on successive plays forced SIU punter Tom Striegel to kick from his own end zone.

The NIU returnman could not handle his attempted fair catch of the punt at the SIU 38-yard-line, though, and when Burnell Quinn galloped 35 yards for a touchdown only four plays later, he clinched the victory for SIU.

975 Homecoming game—NIU 52, SIU-Carbondale 12

by Jack Broughton

The NIU Huskies proved beyond a shadow of a doubt they were “top dog” Saturday in their contest with the Salukis of Southern Illinois.

In the Homecoming dog fight, the Huskies beat the Salukis to whimpering submission with 45 unanswered points in the first three quarters to finish the afternoon a 52-12 victor.

“Our football team learned how to put a team away,” NIU coach Jerry Ippoliti said. “We rubbed salt into their wounds to a degree.”

In its third drive, NIU ran the ball 60 yards before NIU quarterback Jerry Golsteyn opened his passing attack with a 19-yard completion to Vince Smith on the five-yard line. Three plays later, fullback Tim Miller dove for a one-yard touchdown.

NIU added two more touchdowns in the second quarter in runs by Dave Plenkowski and Miller for 21-0 halftime advantage.

The hapless Salukis started the second half fumbling to NIU cornerback Eric Christian on their own 28. Two minutes later Miskov made it 24-0 with a 27-yard field goal.

Defensive end Tim Dacy then began his heroics with the first of two punt deflections to keep SIU embedded in its own territory.

In the fourth quarter, the Huskies’ second string got some experience under their belts while NIU’s first team rested on the sidelines.