Football loses in exciting opener

By Scott Nicol

DeKalb | The Saturday opening of college football was capped off around 3:35 a.m. Sunday morning local time when NIU lost 40-34 in a thrilling, triple-overtime game versus the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming.

The game ended when Wyoming’s sophomore quarterback Josh Allen ran in a touchdown seven yards away after NIU (0-1) missed a 38-yard field goal attempt, the second miss of the game for the Huskies, to begin the third overtime.

The opening kickoff was delayed nearly two hours because of a lightning storm, but the delay did not stop the “lightning” from being displayed on the field as the Huskies offense exploded for 462 total yards, with 329 of those yards coming from redshirt senior quarterback Drew Hare’s pass completions.

Hare went 24-39 passing the ball with three passing touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Hare led a 77-yard drive in one-minute 59 seconds, capped off by a 19-yard reception from Shane Wimann, redshirt junior tight end, to tie the game at 27 with one-minute 13 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, subsequently taking the game to overtime.

The big offensive prowess came from senior wide receiver Kenny Golladay who totaled 226 yards from scrimmage and added three touchdowns.

Golladay had 10 receptions for 144 total yards and two scores. He added six rushing attempts for 82 yards and another touchdown.

The Huskies defense, however, had a tough time stopping Wyoming’s balanced attack, giving up 488 total yards — 243 rushing and 245 passing. The team was unable to apply any pressure from the defensive line as they did not record a sack on Allen. Wyoming recorded one sack on Hare for a loss of 10 yards.

The defense also had difficulty containing Brian Hill, former NIU recruit and Wyoming’s current junior running back, who only averaged 3.8 yards per carry but totaled 125 yards. Hill came through when he was needed the most, scoring a touchdown in the second overtime to give Wyoming a brief lead before Allen won the game for the Cowboys in triple overtime.

“We made too many mistakes to win the football game,” said NIU Head Coach Rod Carey. “The kids played hard, but there were mistakes by the players and the coaches, we all need to get better. That was a good football team, give Wyoming credit. We knew it was going to be a fight.”

The Huskies next opponent will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Tampa where they will battle the University of South Florida in search of their first win of the season. The game will be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network.