Quarterback wins first career start

By Keelen Holcomb

DeKALB | Redshirt senior Anthony Maddie’s first career start for the Huskies showed promise, as he led the Huskies (1-4) to their first win of the season 31-24 against the Ball State Cardinals (3-2) Saturday at Scheumann Stadium in Muncie, Indiana.

Coming off a four-game losing streak, NIU defeated Ball State to keep possession of the Bronze Stalk Trophy for the eighth consecutive year. The Huskies hold a 22-20-2 overall record in the series against the Cardinals.

“When Maddie was in [the game against Western Illinois University this past Saturday], the offense was much more productive,” Head Coach Rod Carey said at a press conference Sept. 27. “In the end, at the quarterback spot, the offense needs to be productive when you’re on the field.”

Maddie was the Huskies’ third starting quarterback this season, taking the reins from sophomore quarterback Ryan Graham. Maddie finished the game with 461 yards, 298 yards through the air with two touchdowns and 163 yards on the ground and another touchdown.

After a high-scoring first half, senior tailback Joel Bouagnon put the Huskies up 24-17 just before halftime with a two-yard touchdown to cap a nine-play, 80-yard drive. Bouagnon finished the day with 158 rushing yards on 21 attempts.

Although Ball State’s sophomore runningback James Gilbert gashed the NIU defense for 124 yards on 22 attempts and three touchdowns, both defenses stiffened up after halftime, leading to a scoreless third period.

The NIU defense more than doubled their season sack total in the game with five sacks. Senior linebacker Sean Folliard posted a career-high 17 tackles and one sack. Sophomore defensive end Josh Corcoran added on two sacks of his own.

A back and forth game up until the end, the Huskies scored the winning touchdown on a 22-yard pass from Maddie to Kenny Golladay, redshirt senior wide receiver. Golladay had two touchdown receptions and ended the day with a career-high 13 receptions and 184 yards. Golladay sits first in the Mid-American Conference in touchdowns scored with eight, six touchdown receptions and two rushing touchdowns.

The defense held the Cardinals for the last 11 minutes and 14 seconds, granting Head Coach Rod Carey and the Huskies their first win of the season, snapping their four-game, season-starting losing streak.

The Huskies stay on the road to take on a tough Western Michigan Broncos (5-0) team 5:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at Waldo Stadium, 1903 W. Michigan Ave. in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Huskie defense will have their hands full against the Broncos as they have beat their first five opponents of the season by a combined score of 224-93.