Huskies used third quarter to power past Rockets

By Brian Earle

Going into halftime against Toledo with the score 14-7, NIU football trailed at the intermission for the first time this season.

This didn’t phase the Huskies. In the third quarter, they went on to give one of their best offensive performances of the season, and they were led by junior quarterback Jordan Lynch.

As if Lynch couldn’t play any better than he has this season, he completed 13 of 15 passes while throwing for 296 yards and two touchdowns in the third quarter alone.

It all started on the first play in the third quarter when Lynch connected with senior wide receiver Martel Moore for a 73-yard touchdown pass. The 73-yard play was the longest catch of Moore’s career and the longest pass play for the Huskies this season.

Later in the quarter, with the Huskies pinned on their own 1-yard line following senior cornerback Rashaan Melvin’s interception, Lynch led the Huskies on a nine-play, 99-yard drive.

The drive culminated with Lynch hooking up with senior wide receiver Perez Ashford on a 6-yard touchdown pass in his first game back from an injury.

The Huskies’ next scoring drive was very similar to their impressive 99-yard touchdown drive. Following an interception by senior linebacker Tyrone Clark, Lynch led the Huskies down the field for a score on a seven-play, 97-yard drive.

Junior running back Akeem Daniels closed out the drive on a 6-yard touchdown run.

Daniels’ touchdown resulted in 21 unanswered points by the Huskies, putting them up 28-14 and giving them control of the game.

Coming out of halftime, the Huskies’ goal on offense was to open up the field and create more space to work with.

“They were packing it in quite a bit, so we thought we could get outside on the screen package that we run,” said NIU coach Dave Doeren. “[We wanted to] let the perimeter guys make some plays, and they did. We thought our tempo could get them tired, and it did. I think we had 340 yards in the third quarter; that’s pretty crazy, but we did.”

Toledo coach Matt Campbell also believes that was the biggest key for the Huskies’ success in the third quarter.

“Their biggest adjustment was opening it up, spreading it out, and getting it to their athletes in space,” Campbell said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make some plays in space, and they certainly were able to.”