Football’s defense stifles Bobcats

By Danny Albers

Football’s defense showed up big once again, holding the Ohio Bobcats to only 14 points Tuesday.

The Huskies (9-2, 6-1 MAC) defeated the Bobcats (5-6, 3-4 MAC), 21-14, in Athens, Ohio. The Huskies won for the 42nd time in their last 43 games in which they held their opponent to 24 or fewer points.

The Huskies’ most dominant performance on defense was in the passing game as they allowed only 141 passing yards. The defensive performance included a key interception by redshirt sophomore cornerback Anthony Brooks following the Huskies’ lone fumble on offense.

Redshirt senior tailback Cameron Stingily fumbled the ball at the Huskies’ 47-yard line with the game tied 7-7 on NIU’s first drive of the second half. The Bobcats recovered the ball, and on their first play of the drive Brooks picked up his second interception of the season at the Huskies’ 44-yard line. Brooks’ interception put a halt to the momentum for the Bobcats’ offense for the time being.

Brooks’ interception led to a seven-play, 56-yard touchdown drive, giving the Huskies a 14-7 lead. The drive was capped off by a 32-yard touchdown screen pass to redshirt senior tailback Akeem Daniels.

The Bobcats drove the ball to the NIU 29-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Instead of attempting a 46-yard field goal, the Bobcats went for it on fourth and 1, and juniors Marlon Moore and Rasheen Lemon stopped freshman tailback A.J. Ouellette for no gain to force a turnover on downs. Ouellette finished the game with 127 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown and 9 receiving yards and one touchdown through the air. Prior to the decision to go for it on fourth and 1, Bobcats junior kicker Josiah Yazdani missed two 46-yard field goal attempts.

Near the end of the fourth quarter, redshirt junior linebacker Boomer Mays forced a fumble on the Huskies’ 33-yard line. The ball was recovered by Moore with 1:57 left in the fourth quarter, allowing the Huskies to run the clock down en route to their ninth win of the season.

The Huskies’ regular season comes to an end on Black Friday against the Western Michigan Broncos (7-3, 5-1 MAC). NIU’s defense will have to have another strong performance against a Broncos’ offense that is averaging 36.2 points per game.