All-MAC Honors go to 9 Huskies

By Northern Star Staff

Nine NIU football players earned All-MAC team honors, according to a press release.

The first-team MAC offensive team featured three Huskies: quarterback Chandler Harnish, left tackle Trevor Olson and center Scott Wedige.

Harnish has done major damage through the air and on the ground for NIU this season. The redshirt senior quarterback has thrown for 2,692 yards along with 23 touchdown passes.

Harnish averaged 112.6 yards a game on the ground, while cashing in 11 rushing touchdowns on the ground.

Olson and Wedige are considered the linchpins of the Huskies’ offensive line. Olson has been somewhat of an iron man up front as he’s started 52 straight games for NIU in his four years with the team.

“Scott has had a tremendous season in the middle for us,” said NIU coach Dave Doeren in a press release. “He calls everything up front. He has been banged up and fought his way through it. He has shown so much dedication to our team.

Wedige has helped guide the Huskies’ backfield to being ranked eighth in the nation in rushing.

“What can you say about Trevor? He’s made 52 starts here,” Doeren said. “He is the ultimate team guy, a great leader and a dedicated Huskie. If you are a tackle and you don’t give up a sack the entire season, I think that says a lot about what you are doing.”

This is the second-straight year Olson and Wedige have been elected to first team honors.

The one first-team selection for NIU that might come as a surprise this season is kicker Matthew Sims.

Heading into 2011, the Huskies’ kicking game faced uncertainty and concern.

However, Sims grabbed the starting job and booted his way to a 18-23 season in field goal attempts and connected on 57-of-58 PATS. His production through the uprights totaled a school-record 111 points.

The second-team MAC offensive and defensive teams featured two Huskies each. On offense, NIU running back Jasmin Hopkins and wideout Perez Ashford earned accolades for their contributions. Hopkins bursted his way for 872 rushing yards and a team-high 15 rushing touchdowns. Ashford was one the many down the field targets for Harnish and hauled in 36 catches for 405 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

On the defensive side, defensive end Sean Progar was rewarded for his pass-rushing abilities with his 5.5 sacks.

Ward, who was a special teams standout last season, evolved into one of NIU’s best defensive backs as his 87 tackles rank second in defense.

The Huskies’ third-team selection went on the offensive side as wide receiver Nathan Palmer received the honor.

The redshirt senior lead all NIU receivers with 42 passes, 568 yards and five touchdowns.