Quarterback job still up in air


Redshirt sophomore quarterback Anthony Maddie (1) rushes for a 20-yard gain against Kent State Saturday at Huskie Stadium. Maddie led NIU’s only two touchdown drives and reopened the debate over who should be NIU’s quarterback.

By Ryan Simpson

Redshirt sophomore Drew Hare started at quarterback for football Saturday, but the game eventually turned into the Anthony Maddie show.

The Huskies (4-1, 1-0 MAC) beat the Kent State Golden Flashes (0-5, 0-2 MAC), 17-14, at Huskie Stadium. The win extended their home stadium winning streak to 28 games and their MAC winning streak to 24 games.

“… I’ve lost games like that before in my career. You don’t ever, ever slight winning,” said head coach Rod Carey. “Winning is winning, by one or by 50. You don’t get any style points. They don’t put any asterisks in the thing, ‘Ooh, that looked really pretty.’ They don’t do that. We take that for exactly what it is: a win.”

The quarterback duo was switched intermittently throughout the game, but it was when Maddie was on the field leading drives that the Huskies scored their two touchdowns. Da’Ron Brown ran 7 yards for a touchdown at 7:09 in the second quarter, and Jordan Huff added another with an 18-yard run at 9:35 in the third.

Carey said shuffling the quarterbacks “absolutely” affects the offense’s rhythm.

“… It changes the flow. It’s a different cadence. It changes kind of how we go about things,” Carey said. “But, I don’t think that that’s a bad thing always; I think that can be a good thing. And so it does change it; sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.”

Maddie went 7-10 through the air for 105 yards. He carried the ball eight times for a team-high 48 yards.

Maddie had some big plays for the Huskies. He had a 26-yard carry and connected with Juwan Brescacin for a 49-yard gain; however, Maddie threw the team’s first interception of the season late in the fourth quarter, which led to a bizarre ending for the Golden Flashes, as both their starting and second-string quarterbacks were injured in the same drive.

Despite the interception, Carey was happy with Maddie’s play.

“The two touchdowns we had tonight, I mean, he was the quarterback for us,” Carey said. “So, I mean, that’s tangible. So, it’s pretty clear that way.”

Maddie and the Huskies were coming off a bye week with a 38-point road loss to Arkansas in their last game and wanted to win at home.

“Yeah, I mean it was a tough loss, obviously. We felt good going into Arkansas, and it didn’t work out they way we wanted it to,” Maddie said. “But our team did a really good job of coming off of that loss and doing what we had to, to get back ready to play this game.”

Hare has been the starter since he led NIU to a 23-15 win over Northwestern Sept. 6. Redshirt junior Matt McIntosh has been sidelined with an injury since that game, and Maddie got his chance to show what he could do when Hare couldn’t get the offense going Saturday.

With another conference game coming up Saturday against the Central Michigan Chippewas, Carey is unsure of who he wants to go with at quarterback going forward.

“We just won a game. I have no idea,” Carey said. “We’re going to enjoy this. I mean, right now Drew [Hare] is our starter, you know, and he started this game. Will that change next week? Possibly. We’ll figure that out as we go.”