Huskies fly past Cardinals

By Ryan Ostry

On a frigid fall night in DeKalb, only one team came to play as the Huskies defeated the Ball State University Cardinals by a score of 63-17.

“I thought all three phases [of the game] were executed at a high level for the majority of the game, “ Head Coach Rod Carey said.

NIU started off the game alternating reps between redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Graham and now starter redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Childers.

The Huskies struck first with a four yard shovel pass a from Childers to Shane Wimann, redshirt senior tight end, who broke his own record with his seventh touchdown reception on the season.

The Cardinals answered back with their only sustained drive of the game with a 23 yard touchdown pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Drew Plitt to Riley Miller, redshirt sophomore wide receiver, to tie the game at 7-7.

NIU answered the touchdown pass with one of its own with a 24 yard touchdown catch-and-run by Jordan Huff, redshirt senior running back.

Huff returned to action for the Huskies after being sidelined with a high ankle sprain for the last three games.

“It feels great, I missed three games and it just feels great to get back on the field and help the team win,” Huff said.

Redshirt sophomore safety Trayshon Foster blocked a punt that was recovered by redshirt senior safety Jackson Abresh for a touchdown. This was the first time since 2011 the Huskies blocked a punt for a touchdown to give the Huskies a 21-7 lead.

The Huskie offense did not stop there as they scored on consecutive drives, beginning with a six yard touchdown run by junior wide receiver D.J. Brown, followed by a five yard touchdown reception by sophomore tight end Mitchell Brinkman.

After a sudden scare when Luke Shively, redshirt junior offensive lineman, went down, the Huskies punted for the first game with just over two minutes left in the first half.

Heading into halftime Sutton Smith, redshirt sophomore defensive end, broke an NIU record with his 21st tackle for loss on the season. The Huskies took a 35-7 lead going into the halftime break..

{{tncms-inline account=”CBSSportsNet” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Quite the half for <a href="">@NIU_Football</a>. <a href=""></a></p>— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) <a href="">November 10, 2017</a></blockquote>” id=”928798259912380418″ type=”twitter”}}

The Cardinals scored its second and last touchdown of the game after a five yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Malik Dunner, trimming the score to 35-14.

Senior wide receiver Christian Blake joined the offensive parade scoring on a 19 yard over-the-shoulder throw for his first score since week four against San Diego State.

The Huskie defense reinforced why they are still one of the best in nation with the fourth interception of the season by redshirt junior linebacker Jawuan Johnson, setting up another Huff touchdown to put NIU up 49-14.

{{tncms-inline account=”tnb030″ html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Huskies are toying with the Cardinals now as Huff comes up with his second TD of the game coming back from injury 💪💪💪</p>— Tom Burton (@tnb030) <a href="">November 10, 2017</a></blockquote>” id=”928810086839017472″ type=”twitter”}}

NIU had no plan of letting up in the final quarter as redshirt sophomore quarterback Daniel Santacaterina came in the game and threw a 70 yard touchdown pass to Jauan Wesley, redshirt junior wide receiver.

Wesley capitalized once again with a blocked punt that was recovered by Abresh for his second touchdown of the night.

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my teammates on that,” Abresh said. “In both instances [Huskie special teams] blocked it, and [Abresh] was just in the right spot.”

{{tncms-inline account=”ryry_ISIT05″ html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Huge win for the Huskies tonight! Next week will be a even bigger game with Western Michigan coming to town! <a href="">#niufootball</a></p>— Ryan Ostry (@ryry_ISIT05) <a href="">November 10, 2017</a></blockquote>” id=”928842743534800897″ type=”twitter”}}

NIU scored its most points since 2013 and it was the first time they blocked two punts in a game since 2010.

The Huskies will conclude their home schedule next week as they will host the Western Michigan University Broncos on senior night 6 p.m. Wednesday at Huskie Stadium.