Huskie offense struggles against Florida State


Northern Illinois’ Marcus Childers looks for a receiver in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game with Florida State, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

By James Krause

NIU offensive woes worsen against FSU

The NIU football team was unable to overcome an early deficit in another non-conference loss to the Florida State Seminoles with the final of 37-19.

The Huskies offense continued to struggle, putting points on the board, but being outscored by FSU despite the Seminoles turning the ball over four times. Head Coach Rod Carey said his offense wasn’t good enough to turn the FSU mistakes into points.

“We won the turnover battle 4-0 and when you do that, you should win the game,” Carey said. “The offense didn’t perform well enough all day.”

The Huskies offense spun its wheels early, not picking up a first down until the second quarter. In the first quarter, the Huskies were only able to gain a total of seven yards.

While NIU struggled out the gate, Florida State scored on their opening drive with a pass from quarterback Deondre Francois deflecting into the hands of wide receiver Jacques Patrick for a touchdown.

Seminoles running back David Akers scored another FSU touchdown on the next drive with a seven yard run. The Huskies found themselves down 14-0 after just under ten minutes of play.

The defense was able to supply a big opportunity to the struggling offense when redshirt junior safety Trayshon Foster forced a fumble, recovered by redshirt junior linebacker Antonio Jones-Davis at the FSU 23.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Marcus Childers delivered, connecting with wide reciever Jauan Wesley on a 20-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-7 in the second quarter.

FSU extended their lead with a 42 yard field goal from kicker Ricky Aguayo and looked to be driving down the field late in the half, reaching the NIU redzone.

A snap over the head of Francois with just seven seconds remaining in the quarter derailed their momentum and the Seminoles settled for a 50 yard field goal from Aguayo to end the half leading 20-7.

NIU gave up another field goal in the third quarter, but quickly responded with a play on a third-and-long. Senior wide receiver DJ Brown caught a pass from Childers and took it all the way to the endzone for a 66-yard touchdown. NIU failed to convert a two-point conversion, but shrunk the lead to 23-13.

Senior defensive end Sutton Smith opened the door for NIU to close the lead even further, stripping Francois of the football recovered by the Huskies.

The Huskies looked to pick up a touchdown with a pass from Childers to Wesley, but it was overruled by officials as Wesley stepped out of bounds before the catch. Senior kicker Andrew Gantz missed a 33-yard field goal, keeping the game at 23-13.

Two plays after the Seminoles took over, Francois connected with first year wide receiver Tamorrion Terry on a rocket throw for a 78-yard touchdown, giving FSU a 30-13 lead.

After a throw by Francois that looked to have dashed NIU’s hopes, he threw an interception to first year linebacker Cortez Hogans.

After missed opportunities all day, Childers took matters into his own hands, running the ball for an 11-yard touchdown. A bad snap on the extra point kept the score at 30-19.

With 5:28 remaining, NIU got the ball again for a chance to make it a one score game. With the ball at their own 35, NIU needed to convert a fourth and ten. With the pocket collapsed, Childers scrambled to find time but was sacked by defensive lineman Kyle Meyers.

A touchdown in the final minute of the game would be the final score, with the Seminoles winning 37-19.

The Seminoles and their first year head coach Willie Taggart had a week of turmoil following another disappointing showing last week, but Taggart said he saw his team improve greatly in their win.

“[It] wasn’t necessarily the best game, but it was a good win for our guys,” Taggart said. “Our football team got better today, something we needed to do.”

Carey said while he’s not happy about the result, he was more than satisfied with his players’ resolve and ability to keep moving forward.

“I think we had our opportunities at the end with a missed field goal and a missed two-point conversion,” Carey said. “We were in a fight; we kept on swinging, but we didn’t land enough punches. You can’t fault our effort.”

The Huskies record drops to 1-3, while FSU reaches an even 2-2 with the win. NIU will return to Mid-American Conference action next week with a road game against the Eastern Michigan Eagles Sept. 29.