Football’s 4th full of twists


By Danny Albers

The defense was the glue that held football together in a tight win this weekend, as the Huskies’ offense never really found its rhythm.

The Huskies (4-1, 1-0 MAC) defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes (0-5, 0-2 MAC), 17-14, Saturday at Huskie Stadium.

Defense dominated the first half, as both teams remained scoreless going into the second quarter. Midway through the second quarter, senior wide receiver Da’Ron Brown punched in a 7-yard touchdown on an end-around run to give the Huskies a 7-0 lead after the extra point.

It would take until the end of the half for the Golden Flashes to get on the scoreboard. They got inside NIU’s 1-yard line, but a tackle for no gain from Jamaal Bass, redshirt senior outside linebacker, on third-and-goal forced Kent State to settle for a 19-yard field goal from junior kicker Anthony Melchiori.

“It was big because you’re talking about a four-point swing there, but we got our opportunities in the second half and capitalized on them,” said Paul Haynes, Kent State head coach. “… You get that close you like to, you know, punch it in for a touchdown.”

On the first possession of the third quarter, the Huskies added to their lead with a 40-yard field goal by kicker Tyler Wedel, giving them a 10-3 lead. The drive was set up by a 66-yard kickoff return from redshirt freshman tailback Jordan Huff.

On their next possession, the Huskies drove 70 yards on five plays, capping off their drive with an 18-yard touchdown run from Huff to put them up 17-3. That would be all the offense they needed.

“Basically I saw somebody else show up in the hole and kind of saw open field to the right side, so I looked for the cutback, kind of just read my blocks as they gave me. … Everything kind of set up perfectly [and] I was able to punch it in,” Huff said.

Going in the fourth quarter, the Huskies had a 17-6 lead. The Golden Flashes punched in a touchdown on a 2-yard run by quarterback Colin Reardon with 7:15 to play. They converted a two-point attempt and pulled within 17-14.

Kent State got the ball back one more time late in the fourth quarter. The Golden Flashes were driving the ball down the field until Reardon got injured on a run that picked up a first down and moved the ball to NIU’s 34-yard line.

In came redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Strock, who took a big hit on his second play, leaving him injured. After the third-string quarterback failed to pick up a first down, the Golden Flashes decided to attempt a 56-yard field on fourth and 15. The kick came up short, and after picking up one first down, the Huskies ran out the clock.

“At the end, when it got close, the coaches rallied the troops, and basically just saying, ‘Let’s go out here and finish the game for the team,’ because offense wasn’t doing that well like we expected to, and [the Golden Flashes] caught momentum, so we had to put the fire out,” said redshirt junior linebacker Rasheen Lemon.