NIU football: Black team routs Cardinal team at Huskie Bowl

By Frank Gogola

Defense stole the show in the third annual Huskie Bowl as Team Black shut out Team Cardinal Saturday at Huskie Stadium.

Team Black picked off Team Cardinal on the third play off the scrimmage, running it back for a touchdown, and the 21-0 rout was on.

“Anytime you split up a team like this, [the] defense has an edge because the offensive units in that lineup don’t work together a whole lot,” said head coach Rod Carey. “It happens that way, but there were some good plays, guys competing.”

The defense for both teams dominated for the majority of the nine offensive possessions afforded to each team. Team Black’s defense intercepted one pass, recovered one fumble, forced six three-and-outs and only allowed the Cardinal offense to get past midfield once. Team Cardinal’s defense surrendered two touchdowns while it forced seven three-and-outs.

“With all the guys being split you’re really limited in what you can do” offensively, said redshirt junior quarterback Drew Hare, who went 6-for-9 for 57 yards for Team Black. “You can’t just have your entire playbook at hand because some of your guys that you need are on the other team.”

Team Black opened the scoring when sophomore cornerback Shawun Lurry picked off redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Graham on the third play of the game. He ran the ball back 35 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.

“It was like third and 5, and I knew they were going for the sticks, so I just backpedaled a little bit and then I [saw] the quarterback throw on the outside shoulder of the receiver and then I broke on it and I caught the ball and returned it for a touchdown,” Lurry said.

Junior tailback Draco Smith scored the first offensive touchdown on Team Black’s second offensive possession. Team Black went up 14-0 on Smith’s 16-yard touchdown run as the offense was going up-tempo.

Team Black tacked on a second offensive touchdown on the final drive. Redshirt junior quarterback Anthony Maddie and sophomore wide receiver Christian Blake connected for a 15-yard touchdown.

Team Black’s Aregeros Turner flashed his skills all over the field. He led all players with seven catches for 61 yards and ran the ball four times for 26 yards.

“We were talking trash all week. I expected the [Cardinal] team to at least get some points up,” Turner said.

The Huskies concluded spring practice Saturday and are finished with organized team practices until fall camp begins in August. The players will get together over the summer for player-run practices.