Top 5 stories | No. 2: NIU football crushed at Homecoming

By Frank Gogola

Football’s latest home loss was more than just an average loss, which is why it comes in at No. 2 in Sports’ countdown of the top five stories.

The Huskies’ 34-17 loss to the Central Michigan Chippewas on Oct. 11 at Huskie Stadium came in NIU’s 108th Homecoming Game. The loss put the Huskies in a situation where they had to win their final six regular season games to make the MAC Championship game, which they did.

Additionally, the loss ended the Huskies’ 28-game winning streak at Huskie Stadium and their 24-game MAC regular season winning streak. Prior to the 34-17 loss, NIU’s last home loss came on Sept. 27, 2009, against the Idaho Vandals, and its last loss at home to a MAC team came on Nov. 12, 2008, against Central Michigan.

“I’m not disappointed about the streaks. That’s stuff you guys put on paper,” said head coach Rod Carey, according to an Oct. 13 Northern Star article. “I’m disappointed we lost the game, and at Homecoming … so I’m disappointed for that. And basically, I’m just disappointed for these guys. You know, they worked hard. We just need to work harder.”

Central Michigan tailback Thomas Rawls carried the ball 40 times for 270 yards and two touchdowns in the upset. Rawls became the first player since the 2009 season to rush for 200-plus yards against the Huskies; South Florida’s Mike Ford rushed for 207 yards against NIU in the 2010 International Bowl on Jan. 3, 2010.

“Only thing I do is show up and try to have a tremendous … week of practice and have a huge impact in the game; that’s just my role,” Rawls said, according to the Northern Star. “I’m just out there, and I’m tough, and this offensive line is tough, and our receivers are tough. And [we’re] just out there playing football, CMU football.”