Football loses home opener

By Keelen Holcomb

DeKALB | The Huskies moved to 0-3 on the season after losing their home opener against San Diego State University Aztecs by a score of 42-28.

The Huskies opened up the game rushing the ball well but struggled the rest of the first half to create any offense.

After the Huskies gained 43 yards on their third drive of the game, they did not gain another first down until after the 6-minute mark in the second quarter.

“I wasn’t overly nervous, I just didn’t play well enough,” sophomore quarterback Ryan Graham said. “I was seeing things and overthinking things. San Diego State did a great a great job of playing well and we [weren’t] executing well enough.”

After surrendering the first 28 points of the game, the Huskies offense finally found the endzone in the second quarter with a 12-yard run from senior wide receiver Kenny Golladay.

San Diego State was up by 21 points heading into half time by a score of 28-7.

The Aztecs senior running back Donne Pumphrey had 220 yards, three touchdowns and a long run of 79 yards.

“We had a couple breakdowns,” Head Coach Rod Carey said. “One was a missed tackle, we got out of our gap, and [Pumphrey] is just the type of player that can make you pay when you do that. I give San Diego State a lot of credit. When you play a good offense and a good running back like that, and you do have a breakdown, obviously we have to correct that.”

Beginning the second half on defense, NIU made a much needed stop on the Aztecs first drive.

This gave the Huskies momentum as they then marched down the field scoring a touchdown on a 49-yard pass from Graham to Golladay, making the score 28-14 in favor of the Aztecs.

NIU attempted to make a comeback, making several stops on defense to keep its offense on the field. The Huskies offense scored again with seven minutes and 46 seconds left in the third quarter on a 14-yard pass from Ryan Graham to Shane Wimann, redshirt junior tight end, to cut the defecit to just seven points with plenty of time left.

Fans started piling back into Huskie Stadium as the game grew close again, but the following possesion saw the Huskies defense unable to keep the Aztecs quiet, giving up a 33-yard touch down run to Pumphrey.

This pushed the lead back to 14 points and became insurmountable for the offense to ovecome.

“I think second half we came out and we played with great energy just like we did the first half,” said redshirt junior linebacker Bobby Jones IV. “Just little mistakes we have to cleanup, but again credit goes to San Diego State.”

The Huskies next game is 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium against Western Illinois University. The game will broadcast on ESPN3 or radio station WLBK-AM 1360/FM 98.9 and AM 560 for Chicago.

Student admittance to the games is free with a valid NIU OneCard.