UI starts fast, doesn’t look back


IOWA CITY, Iowa—Kinnick Stadium at the University of Iowa Saturday was a place of falling records. Unfortunately NIU’s record fell to 4-6 after suffering a nearly deja vu-like loss to another Iowa team 54-20.

LeShon Johnson overshadowed the loss by breaking rushing records left and right on 32 carries for 306 yards and two touchdowns. His outstanding performance allowed him to topple four records in a single day.

The most noteable of these records was the NIU single season rushing record formerly held by Mark Kellar who rushed for 1,719 yards in 1973. With one game left, Johnson now stands at 1,917 yards and could top the 2,000 yard mark next week at Mississippi.

“Things like that (breaking records) I try to let take care of themselves,” said Johnson. “I just go out there and do my job and if it happens, great.

Johnson also overshadowed the performances of Iowa runningbacks Sedrick Shaw and Ryan Terry who led the Hawkeyes to victory. Shaw had 16 carries for 145 yards and one TD while Terry had 20 for 109 yards and a TD rushing and a TD receiving. It was a successful running attack that surprised head coach Charlie Sadler and that took advantage of a sub-par defensive effort.

“We really had some guys not play as well as they needed to,” said Sadler. “When that happens, positive things happen for the other team.”

Things were very positive for Iowa. They took a quick lead and never looked back. Halfway through the second quarter they were up 28-0 and went into halftime with a 31-10 advantage. They also managed to rack up 566 yards of total offense.

Iowa used three quarterbacks in the rout. Paul Burmeister led the threesome on 12-of-17 passing for 198 yards and two TDs. Eleven different receivers caught a pass in the game led by split end Harold Jasper, who had two catches for 67 yards.

Johnson and kicker Brian Steger accounted for the only Huskie points in the game. Johnson had two rushing touchdowns of 26 and 81 yards and Steger kicked field goals of 22 and 27 yards.

The Huskie passing attack was nearly non-existent representing just 50 of NIU’s 392 total yards. QB Bart Geiser was just 6-of-18 for 50 yards and two interceptions. Geiser threw all six competitions on 12 attempts in the first half while the only two completions in the second half were to Iowa defensive backs.

NIU special teams was another positive aspect for NIU. Iowa kept kicking short to stay away from returner Steve Rodgers who was only able to bring back four of the nine kickoffs for 54 yards.

“I think it’s a compliment to our special teams,” said Sadler. “They were concerned about kicking deep and Rodgers having some excellent runs.”

Steve Wild led the defense with 14 tackles and recorded the only sack for the Huskies. Sam Denson recorded the only Huskie interception.

The highpoint for the defense came in the third quarter. Iowa had the ball first-and-goal from the nine yard line. The Huskies were able to hold them on four plays, shutting down Iowa on forth down with one yard to go.

As a sign of just how bad the Huskies’ day was, on their series after forcing Iowa to give up the ball, Johnson was tackled in the endzone for a safety, something that has never happened to him in his football career.