Jayhawks defeat Huskies in Lawrence, Kan.


Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish gets past Kansas safety Bradley McDougald, right, for a touchdown during the first half of the college football game in Lawrence, Kan., in September 2011. AP Photo: Orlin Wagner

By Tony Osborne

NIU (1-1) football suffered its first loss of the season Saturday in Lawrence, falling to Kansas (2-0), 45-42.

“Hats off to KU and their players; they executed well and they made one more play than we did tonight,” said NIU head coach Dave Doeren in a Kansas postgame press conference.

It was a late fourth quarter drive where Kansas (2-0) not only drained the clock out, but marched the Huskies’ defense up field for a go ahead six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jordan Webb, which was hauled in by wide receiver D.J. Beshears with nine seconds left on the clock.

“It was a good throw and catch,” Doeren said. “Kansas executed well, and we didn’t defend it well enough.”

The Huskies defense couldn’t keep up with the balanced attack Webb led. Webb threw for 281 yards through the air along with three touchdown passes.

“He was exceptional,” said Kansas head coach Turner Gill. “Every phase of the game that you want your quarterback to be and do, he did that.”

The Huskie offense shined early and often against Kansas, tallying 315 yards through the air via quarterback Chandler Harnish. The redshirt senior also led the way with two touchdowns through the air and three on the ground.

After Webb’s six-yard touchdown pass to Beshears to give Kansas back the lead, Harnish and the rest of the Huskies offense needed one more drive to answer.

“I thought we’d probably get the ball back with a chance to win the game,” Harnish said.

Harnish thought right, but there wouldn’t be enough time for the Huskies to put together a drive, pass or field goal.

NIU’s signal caller was forced to throw up a Hail Mary pass downfield to a slew of defenders. The pass was batted down and the clock struck zero.

After a tough loss, the Huskies’ upcoming opponent won’t be any easier, as they will travel Soldier Field to face off against the Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin.

“We’ve just got to go to work, start game planning and get ready for the next game, said NIU junior safety Demetrius Stone. “We’ve just got to put this behind us and move forward.”