Key players of the Toledo Rockets

By Andrew Singer

NIU Offensive Line

The Huskies will be going up against one of the best pass rushes in the MAC Tuesday night when they take on Toledo at Huskie Stadium. The Rockets have taken down the quarterback 21 times through nine games; the second highest sack total in the MAC. When the opposing quarterback has had enough time to get rid of the ball, however, the Rockets have been gashed; giving up 240.4 passing yards per game.

Allowing a conference-low nine sacks, the Huskies have proven throughout 2010 that they can protect the quarterback.

Numbers like these could add up to a big day for NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish.

The redshirt junior has compiled 1,439 yards through the air and has thrown three touchdowns to every one interception in 2010.

NIU head coach Jerry Kill believes as long as the Huskies stay true to what they’ve been taught, they’ll be able to keep Chandler on his feet.

“Our offensive linemen have to recognize zone and man pressures,” Kill said. “The running backs have to pick people up and give our quarterback time to throw the ball.”

Toledo QB Terrance Owens

Early in last week’s game against Eastern Michigan, starting Rockets quarterback Austin Dantin went out with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. In response, Toledo head coach Tim Beckman pegged redshirt freshman Terrance Owens to run the offense against EMU. Owens didn’t disappoint; throwing for 234 yards and four touchdowns on 10 of 15 passing.

While impressive, his performance last week should be taken with a grain of salt considering the Eagles’ 1-8 record.

As announced by Beckman on Monday, Dantin’s injury is more serious than originally anticipated; meaning Owens will start against the Huskies on Tuesday.

Regardless of experience, Beckman is confident in his new signal caller.

“He’s been in our system for nearly a year and a half,” Beckman said. “We’re going to be the same offense on Tuesday but we’ll just have a different guy running it.”