Football drops regular season finale

By Thomas Hiley

Football (8-4, MAC 6-2) lost its final home game of the season to Ohio (8-4, MAC 5-3 MAC) on senior night by a score of 26-21.

The Huskies struggled early and often on both sides of the ball to start the game. They totaled only 71 yards in the first half and allowed the Bobcats to pick up 238 total yards.

“They out executed us,” said junior linebacker Sean Folliard. “We weren’t executing at times, we weren’t in our gaps when we should have been and you just have to give them their credit. They ‘out-physical’d’ us tonight.”

NIU’s only score in the first half came from sophomore running back Jordan Huff on a five-yard touchdown after Ohio fumbled the ball its previous possession. The Huskies were stopped on every other possession they had in the second half following the touchdown.

Redshirt freshman Ryan Graham struggled early in the game, completing five of his 10 passes in the first and totaling only 33 yards. He spent most of the night running from the Ohio defensive line after being sacked three times in the first half.

The Huskies’ defense had its struggles as well, allowing sophomore running back A.J. Ouellette to rush for 88 yards and allowing touchdown passes through the air from junior quarterback J.D. Sprague and backup quarterback Greg Windham.

“We dug ourselves in a whole in the first half,” said head coach Rod Carey. “Offensively we aren’t good enough. Defensively we did a great job in the first half of holding [Ohio] to 20-7 lead.”

Third string quarterback Tommy Fiedler came in to replace Graham following an injury, completing nine of his 17 passes for 113 yards and one touchdown. His efforts weren’t enough to complete a Huskies comeback.

“Ryan [Graham] wasn’t able to come back,” said Coach Carey. “I don’t know his status. If we get into the championship game I wouldn’t know his status. I would hope for the bowl game he’ll be back but I wouldn’t know the status on that either.”

NIU’s status for the MAC Championship now depends on a game this week between Toledo and Western Michigan. The Huskies will face off against Bowling Green in the Championship game at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 in Detroit, Mich. if the Broncos are able to knock Toledo off.