Rapid Reaction: NIU 17, Kent State 14


Redshirt sophomore quarterback Drew Hare (12) scans the field before delivering a pass during the team’s September game against the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville, Ark. The Huskies have a bye week after the 52-14 loss to the Razorbacks, and the players and coaches aren’t getting too far away from the game of football.

By Frank Gogola

What happened: The Huskies (4-1, 1-0) opened MAC play with a 17-14 win over the Kent State Golden Flashes (0-5, 0-2 MAC) Saturday at Huskie Stadium.

How it happened: Redshirt Anthony Maddie led two of the Huskies’ three scoring drives, and NIU escaped with a 17-14 win over the Golden Flashes. The offense never looked like it found its rhythm.

The Huskies got on the board as Da’Ron Brown rushed into the end zone from 7 yards out on an end around from left to right with 7:09 to play in the second quarter. Anthony Maddie engineered the nine-play, 80-yard drive.

The Golden Flashes responded, driving inside NIU’s 1-yard line, but settled for a 19-yard field goal from Anthony Melchiori. NIU led 7-3 at the half.

The Huskies opened the second half with a 40-yard field goal by Tyler Wedel. They extended their lead to 17-3 as Jordan Huff registered his first career TD with an 18-yard run 5:25 into the third quarter. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Drew Hare and Maddie led the scoring drives, respectively.

Melchiori drew the Golden Flashes within 17-6 with a 27-yard field goal by Melchiori late in the third quarter. Kent State quarterback Colin Reardon capped off a seven-play, 80-yard drive with a 2-yard bootleg touchdown run. The Golden Flashes converted the 2-point conversion and drew with 17-14 with 7:15 to play.

The Golden Flashes were driving late, but Reardon and backup quarterback Nathan Strock got injured on back-to-back plays, and the NIU defense preserved the win.

What it means: The Huskies open MAC play 1-0. They extend their home winning streak to 28 games. Their MAC winning streak now sits at 24 games.

Three stars:

3. Redshirt freshman tailback Jordan Huff: 66-yard kickoff return; one rush for 18 yards, one touchdown; first career touchdown

2. Redshirt junior wide receiver Juwan Brescacin: three receptions for 116 yards; second career 100-yard receiving day

1. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Anthony Maddie: 7-10 for 105 yards; eight rushes for 48 yards; led two of Huskies’ three scoring drives

Up next: The Huskies continue their three-game homestand when they take on the Central Michigan Chippewas (3-3, 1-1 MAC) 4 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium in NIU’s 108th Homecoming game.