Crabtree returns for season finale, Rebels



NIU’s main signal caller is back.

After a four game absence from the playing field, starting quarterback Scott Crabtree will take the controls this weekend against Ole‘ Miss.

Crabtree separated his right shoulder on the first series of the Pacific game and is making his return to close out his senior year.

“If this was not the last game of the season I wouldn’t be coming back,” Crabtree said. “But this will be my last game playing football. I’m coming back because it feels good enough to play.”

With their best at the position back on the field, everyone will be interested to see how the shoulder holds up after he takes that first hard hit.

“It hurts a little bit, but only hurts when I throw across my body and on the run. I’m just scared of taking the first hit … I really don’t know what its going to do when that first linebacker smashes me,” Crabtree said.

The offense seemed to click better with Crabtree at the helm with wide receivers getting the ball quicker and more efficiently. However what this reinstatement really does is to enable the Huskies to take the load off LeShon Johnson.

With a bonafide passing attack, it won’t be as easy for the Rebels to focus all efforts on the “Cowboy.” If they do, the coaches are sure to adjust, as they did against Nevada, and make them pay by using Johnson as a decoy.

“Scott’s going to help us a lot because if they start keying on me we can put the ball in the air and loosen them up,” Johnson said.

Crabtree’s numbers thus far are quite impressive. He’s 76-of-127 (.598) for 1,082 yards, had seven touchdown passes and five interceptions.

The senior became the first Huskie quarterback to throw for over 1,000 yards since Marshall Taylor in 1987. When Crabtree was injured he was averaging just over 170 yards a game and was on pace to break into the top 10 passing ranks for a single season.

Raymond Roberts, Vaurice Patterson and Sean Allgood, the receiving core for NIU, look to be the beneficiaries of a healthy starting quarterback. What these three and the rest of the team will be most anxious to see is just how rusty Crabtree is after his absence.

“At a quarterback, I’m sure I’ll be a little rusty in some places,” Crabtree said. “We’ve done a lot this week to get me ready. I should be ready – if not 100 percent at least 99.”

Nobody could be happier about having their QB back than head coach Charlie Sadler, who isn’t very worried about the inability to execute early in the game.

“I think with the experience he got in the first six games, he should be able to get back in form pretty easily.”