Rapid fire attack killed Huskies


When halftime rolled around in Saturday’s 54-20 defeat to the University of Iowa, the Huskies were in too big of a hole to climb out.

It wasn’t until they were down 28-0 midway through the second quarter that the Huskies were able to remove the goose egg and score a touchdown courtesy of LeShon Johnson’s 26-yard TD run. The two teams then traded field goals and at the midpoint the scoreboard showed a dismal 31-10 score.

The damage started early around the opening kickoff. Iowa runningback Ryan Terry returned the kick 33 yards to their own 44 yard line. It took the Hawkeyes just six plays to convert their good field position into quick points. The drive included a fourth down with one yard to go which Terry was able to convert into a first down with a three-yard scamper.

The only Huskie highlight came with 7:11 left in the first quarter on an interception by safety Sam Denson. It came on a second and ten situation from NIU’s 16-yard line. It also saved the Huskies six points because the interception occurred in the endzone and Denson returned it 27 yards.

Iowa would be held scoreless until the early seconds of the second quarter when Terry capped an 86-yard drive with a 7-yard run.

The Hawkeyes would go on to score touchdowns on their next two possessions.

Running back Sedrick Shaw went on an 18-yard scamper around the right end for a touchdown to make it 21-0.

Iowa would get the ball back right away after the ensuing kickoff. On the first play from scrimmage Johnson fumbled and the Hawkeyes’ Mike Wells fell on it to set up a first and ten again from NIU’s 16-yard line.

This would turn out to be the game breaker. The Huskie defense held Iowa and forced them into a fourth and two situation. Iowa brought in the field goal unit for what would have been a 25-yard attempt. Iowa faked the kick and holder Jefferson Bates rolled out and threw a pass into the endzone, but it was incomplete.

The Huskies however, were called for roughing the passer and Iowa got the ball back at first and goal at the four yard line. Three plays later, QB Paul Burmeister found Terry open in the endzone and it was 28-0.

The Iowa offense exploded for 343 of its 566 total yards in the first half. NIU managed just 142 total yards in the half. The NIU defense was victimized by Burmeister passes of 34 and 37 yards. Shaw broke through the defense for runs of 13, 14, 16 and 34 yards. All these numbers came in the first half alone.

In the second half, NIU was able to gain 250 yards behind Johnson but would only score 10 more points. Quarterback Bart Geiser would not complete any more passes after the first half which left it up to the running game and the special teams to supply NIU with the opportunities to make up the points.

Johnson, Brian Grimes, Dante Wharton and Brian Cotton combined to gain 342 of NIU’s 392 total offensive output for the game. There were also more Huskies that returned a kick than caught a pass in the game.