Huskies earn 1st home win

By Scott Nicol

NIU quarterback rushes 125 yards

DeKALB | Senior wide receiver Aregeros Turner returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and the Huskies never looked back in a 44-7 victory over University at Buffalo in the 110th homecoming game at Huskie Stadium.

“I saw the hole open, and I knew it was a touchdown from the beginning,” Turner said at Saturday’s postgame press conference. “It felt good to finally run one back.”

The win marked NIU’s first home victory of the season and the 10th consecutive win against Buffalo. Saturday’s victory moved the Huskies overall homecoming record to 70-30-10, including a 36-14-2 record at Huskie Stadium.

Redshirt senior quarterback Anthony Maddie accounted for five total touchdowns including four rushing touchdowns. Maddie became the first NIU quarterback to rush for four touchdowns in a game since Nov. 2, 2013, when former NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch rushed in four against the University of Massachusetts.

“Any time I can get mentioned in the same name as Jordan [is] awesome,” Maddie said at Saturday’s press conference.

Maddie had rushing touchdowns of 15, 16 and three yards — all in the second quarter. He added his fourth rushing touchdown on a 23-yard run in the fourth quarter.

He finished with 199 yards passing and 125 yards rushing, making it the third time he has rushed for more than 100 yards this season.

The Huskies defense was on its game as they recorded four first half interceptions, their most since they defeated Purdue University Sept. 28, 2013.

“It’s just about preparing each week,” said junior cornerback Mayomi Olootu Jr. at Saturday’s press conference. “We’re getting better every day, and we’re seeing the plays. Our coaches are doing a good job of putting us in position, and we’re making the plays we need to make.”

Senior linebacker Jamaal Payton and Olootu had interceptions on the opening two drives for Buffalo.

The interception came in Payton’s 47th career game and was his first of his career.

“Defense is the story of the game,” Head Coach Rod Carey said. “That was a fine effort by our defense today. When you get four picks, that is a big thing.”

NIU led after the first quarter for just the second time this season and the first time since the opening week against University of Wyoming.

The Huskies still have a chance to win the Mid-American Conference west title but will need help from other opponents, as Western Michigan University is two games ahead of them and holds the tiebreaker after a 45-30 win over NIU on Oct. 8 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

“We haven’t flinched all year,” Carey said. “I know that’s hard to say when you’re sitting here with a record like we have after eight games, but we have not flinched. We’re 2-2 in this conference. There’s a lot of football yet to be played. I don’t know how it will all turn out, but I know this group hasn’t flinched, and we’re getting better.”

Senior wide receiver Kenny Golladay notched his fifth game of the season where he accumulated 90 or more receiving yards with 96 on Saturday.

Golladay is second in the MAC with 821 receiving yards, behind Cody Thompson, University of Toledo’s junior wide receiver. Thompson has 844 receiving yards in one less game played than Golladay.

Golladay is also second in the MAC with seven receptions per game, just two decimal points behind the leader, Scott Miller, Bowling Green State University’s sophomore wide receiver, who NIU will see in its next matchup.

NIU will play Bowling Green 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at Huskie Stadium for its first night game at home this season as the team will honor its seniors during senior night.