Football falls to Boston College in 17-14 bout


Junior running back Joel Bouagnon runs against Boston College on Saturday at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Bouagnon ran for 56 yards on 16 carries in the game, scoring the only touchdown for the Huskies’ offense.

By Christopher Loggins

Football (2-2, 0-0 MAC) took a loss to Boston College (3-1) with a final score of 17-14, dropping its second consecutive game on its current three-game road trip.

Neither team could get going on offense in the first quarter as they traded punts throughout the first period. Both teams kicked nine punts. The only drive that didn’t end in a punt was NIU’s first drive, which halted after a fumble by junior wide receiver Kenny Golladay.

The Eagles broke the 0-0 tie on their first possession of the second quarter, scoring on a 27-yard touchdown catch by sophomore receiver Charlie Callinan from freshman quarterback Troy Flutie. The drive went 10 plays for 68 yards for a total of 4:13. The Eagles turned the ball over on an interception by sophomore cornerback Shawun Lurry on their second drive, Lurry’s fourth of the year. The Huskies scored just three plays later on a 2-yard run by junior running back Joel Bouagnon. Both teams traded punts until halftime after the touchdown.

NIU turned the ball over just 46 seconds into the second half after junior quarterback Drew Hare threw his third interception of the season to junior defensive back John Johnson. Boston College took a 14-7 lead with just over a minute left in the third on a 21-yard run by sophomore running back Jon Hilliman.

Boston raised the lead to 17-7 on it’s second drive of the fourth quarter, following an 11-play, 58-yard drive that resulted in a field goal by freshman kicker Colton Lichtenberg. NIU then closed the deficit to just three on the kickoff after an 86-yard kick return touchdown by junior receiver Aregeros Turner with four-and-a-half minutes remaining in the game. After forcing a Boston College punt with 2:20 left, The Huskies turned the ball over on downs after a five-play, 26-yard drive that lasted just 49 seconds.

Drew Hare threw just 81 yards on the day — his second straight game with less than 90 passing yards — on 11-25 passing with no touchdowns and an interception. It was his second consecutive game without a touchdown pass.

Bouagnon ran the ball 16 times, rushing for 56 yards and a touchdown in the game. Bouagnon scored the only touchdown for the Huskies’ offense on the day. Senior receiver Tommylee Lewis led the Huskies in receiving in the game, catching six balls for 42 yards.

Quarterback Troy Flutie threw just 11 passes in his debut as the Eagles’ starter, completing just five passes with a touchdown and an interception on 92 yards. Hilliman carried much of the offensive load, running the ball 24 times for 119 yards and a touchdown. Freshman quarterback Jeff Smith rushed just nine times but ended the game with 56 yards, good enough to tie for second in the game.

“We couldn’t get out of our way today offensively,” said head coach Rod Carey, according to an NIU Athletics news release. “Defensively and special teams-wise, except for the blocked punt, it was a championship effort. We’re a 2-2 ballclub that needs to stop making errors. When you lose two in a row, you don’t feel good about anything, but I thought our defense played great the entire day. [Boston College] is a good defensive team — give them credit — but there were plays to be made.”

NIU finished the day with just 153 yards on offense versus 326 for Boston College. The Eagles also put up 18 first downs to the Huskies’ 10. NIU went just 3-14 on third-down conversions and lost the time-of-possession battle by more than 15 minutes. The game marked the second week in a row that the Huskies’ offense put up only one touchdown and the second consecutive game where they scored less than 20 points as a team.

The Huskies will look to bounce back after losing consecutive games for the first time since the 2013-14 season when they face off against Central Michigan at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Mount Pleasant, Mich. The game will mark NIU’s first conference play of the year.