Injury list lengthens

By Scott Nicol

Huskie back-ups lead football’s win

YPSILANTI, Michigan | After four injuries in the first half, including one to redshirt sophomore quarterback Ryan Graham, the Huskies (4-7, 4-3 Mid-American Conference) rallied from a 21-point deficit to defeat the Eastern Michigan University Eagles (6-5, 4-3 MAC) 31-24 in overtime Wednesday.

Redshirt junior tailback Jordan Huff scored a two-yard touchdown in overtime to give the Huskies the 31-24 lead, and NIU’s defense made a stop on a fourth-down-and-2 running attempt by Blake Banham, redshirt sophomore running back, to seal the victory for the Huskies.

Graham, senior tailback Joel Bouagnon, senior linebacker Sean Folliard and Joe Sanders, redshirt junior defensive end, all left the game because of injury. Bouagnon was the only player to return, but redshirt junior tailback Jordan Huff saw most of the carries after Bouagnon’s injury.

Junior cornerback Shawun Lurry left the game late in the fourth quarter because of an ankle injury he suffered while making a game-saving play. He broke up a pass in the end zone which would have given Eastern Michigan the lead with 35 seconds remaining in regulation.

Lurry was helped off the field by athletic trainers and did not return.

The defense struggled to stop the Eagles in the first half, but rebounded in the second half and overtime as it yielded just three points.

Graham was the Huskies’ third quarterback to suffer an injury this season after he left with an apparent head injury. Redshirt senior quarterback Drew Hare injured his hamstring in the second game of the season Sept. 10 against University of South Florida, and redshirt senior Anthony Maddie hairline fractured his left foot Nov. 1 against Bowling Green State University.

NIU used its fourth quarterback on the season with redshirt freshman Daniel Santacaterina.

Santacaterina, who finished 5-15 with 103 yards, one touchdown and one interception, entered the game with a 14-point deficit. The deficit would increase to 21 points by halftime as the Huskies were outgained 313 to 141 in total yards.

Redshirt senior wide receiver Kenny Golladay didn’t have his typical 100-yard performance, but he did catch four passes for 36 yards, giving him enough yardage to pass P.J. Fleck, former NIU wide receiver and current Western Michigan University head coach, for sixth on NIU’s all-time receiving yards list with 2,182 yards. 

The Huskies will conclude their disappointing season Nov. 25 in Kent, Ohio against Kent State University. The time for the game has yet to be determined.