Huskies beat down Bulls


NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish rushes for a touchdown in Saturday’s win over Buffalo.

By Jimmy Johnson

DeKALB | A revised second half of play by NIU led the Huskies past Buffalo Saturday, 45-14.

The Huskies’ (5-2 overall, 3-0 MAC) offense was out of sync in the first half, as the NIU running game lacked its usual punch, with just 79 rushing yards on 26 carries.

The Bulls’ (2-4, 1-1) blitzed at will, which won them the war in the trenches in the first half against the NIU offensive line.

Huskies’ running back Chad Spann gave some words of hope and comfort to his blockers to not get discouraged.

“I talked to the offensive line when I came off the field a couple of times after they stopped us a bit and just told them, ‘we’re going to keep running and keep going at them, they’ll break sooner or later,’” Spann said. “In the second half they really opened up for us and let us pick up those yards.”

Spann’s words would ring true as NIU rushed for 202 yards in the second half.

“[Buffalo] did some things in the blitz game offensively that we didn’t block very well at times,” said NIU head coach Jerry Kill. “When you play a team like that, it’s going to be ugly at times.”

Buffalo quarterback Jerry Davis was anemic, going seven for 23 with 101 yards passing. Most of those yards came right before the end of the first half, when Davis found a wide open Marcus Rivers for an 81-yard touchdown pass cutting the NIU lead to 21-14.

That would be all the scoring for Buffalo, as the Huskies’ defense silenced them in the second half.

“We haven’t been able to finish games in the second half,” said Bulls’ head coach Jeff Quinn.

NIU kicker Mike Cklamovski missed three of his four field goal attempts.

Two of his misses sailed right from chip shot distances of 25 and 26 yards.

While the kicking game wasn’t effective, the punt return team wreaked havoc on Buffalo punter Jacob Schum.

Huskies’ strong safety Jimmie Ward recorded his second blocked punt on the season while the rest of the return unit put pressure on Schum all game.

“I think he’s going to be a great, great football player,” Kill said of Ward.

NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish struggled at times, throwing a season-high two interceptions. Bulls defensive tackle Gordon DuBois rumbled his way 27 yards on one of those interceptions to put it on the scoreboard.

Harnish didn’t let his mistakes discourage himself, keeping faith and confidence in NIU’s offense and their supreme defense.

“It shows the mental toughness of our team,” Harnish said. “We came in at halftime, and we weren’t sure which way they were going to go. Our guys came out in the second half strong. Our defense played a heck of a game; they really kept us in it.”