Huskie football recognized for recent success


Redshirt senior tailback Jordan Huff fends off the defense in their game against Nebraska Sept. 16. The Huskies won 21-14, making it their fourth win in the last five games against Big-ten opponents. 

By Ryan Ostry

The NIU football team is getting national recognition for their recent play after beating four out of their last five Big-ten teams they have faced, most recently the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

The Football Writer’s Association of America announced Monday they ranked the Huskies as the National football team of the week, which is NIU’s first selection in the school’s history.

“It’s pretty incredible,” said Max Scharping, redshirt junior offensive lineman. “I just learned about it [Monday], but it’s a really cool recognition for our university and for our football team specifically.”

In the Nebraska game, senior cornerback Shawun Lurry took an 87-yard interception return back for a touchdown, making his second career interception return for a touchdown. This tied Lurry for the school record in that category.

Redshirt senior tailback Jordan Huff had the only offensive touchdown for the Huskies and tallied 105 rushing yards for the game. Huff said confidence is important to the team being successful in big games.

“[A win like that] definitely helps having that confidence,” Huff said. “We definitely want to keep that momentum rolling. We’re ready to go in [to the next game] with confidence and ready to execute.”

Shortly after the Lurry touchdown, redshirt junior linebacker Juwan Johnson returned a 25-yard interception for a score to put the Huskies up 14-0. The Huskies shut out Nebraska at halftime at home, making it the first time any team has done that since 2007.

With his achievements, Johnson was named Mid-American Conference player of the week Monday.

Johnson led the way for the Huskies defense with nine tackles, including a one-yard tackle for a loss of yards by Nebraska. Johnson led a defense to holding Nebraska to only 85 yards rushing while compiling three sacks on Nebraska’s junior quarterback Tanner Lee.

Sean T. Frazier, associate vice president and director of athletics, is happy NIU is getting recognized for their play.

“It means a lot [to the] athletic program,” Frazier said. “Anytime you can win on a national level [against a team with] the tradition and history of Nebraska and to go into [Memorial Stadium] is pretty significant. It shows people where NIU is as a football program, and to win the way we did is a pretty significant statement.”

With this win and the success NIU has had against top-tier football teams, Frazier said NIU could become more of a known and recognized football program.

“When you’re on national television and you [compete] against a team like that, recruits take notice,” Frazier said. “It will definitely help our ability to be a national recruiting base.”

The Huskies will face the San Diego State Aztecs 9:30 p.m. Sept. 30 in San Diego.