Mid-season review looking good


The Huskie offense has showed major improvements after scoring 91 points in their last two games and only 43 in their first three games.

The NIU football squad started off the year on a bad foot when they traveled to Iowa State in the first week of September.

The Cyclone defense stopped the Huskie offense cold, only allowing them to manufacture a field goal in the 54-10 rout.

Individual efforts on offense were not the problem in this game. LeShon Johnson ran for 102 yards, and Scott Crabtree completed 18 of 26 passes for 152 yards and threw no interceptions.

What stopped the Huskies from scoring more than a field goal was execution errors.

The Huskies were called on 14 penalties for 92 yards. The Huskies committed only 57 penalties in all of 1992.

Also, the Huskies converting only one-third down conversion in 10 attempts.

Against Indiana, the individual players showed improvement in the Huskie’s 28-10 loss.

Johnson ran for 129 yards, and Crabtree had another average day, completing 17 passes for 161 yards. And although he did throw one interception, he was able to pass for 11 first downs.

What killed the Huskies in this game was, again, execution errors.

The Huskies lost two fumbles, and the offensive line allowed three sacks for 20 lost yards.

The improvements in the offense were not apparent because nobody understood the defensive capabilities of Indiana, a team who receives votes every week to be in the top 25.

The Huskies were now 0-2 and coming home to their first Big West game of the season, and their opponent was Arkansas State, one of the lowest-ranked teams in Division I-A.

The Huskies were triumphant outscoring the Indians 23-7, and again showed more major improvements.

Johnson had the best game of his career, thus far, running for 226 yards on 32 carries.

The offensive line didn’t allow any sacks, and the Huskies were only forced to punt five times.

The passing game fell a little, throwing three interceptions, and completing only eight passes, but Crabtree suffered from bruised ribs late in the first half.

Crabtree made up for the sub-par game the next week when the Huskies traveled to Reno to take on highly favored Nevada.

He led the Huskies to a heart-stopping 46-42 victory in a game that could be the deciding factor for the Big West crown.

Nevada’s defense, No. 1 against the pass in the Big West, was obviously keying on Johnson when they allowed Crabtree to complete 11 passes for 340 yards and five touchdowns.

This past week, the Huskies proved their stability on offense beating Southern Illinois 45-15.

In this game Johnson ran for a career high 322 yards and three touchdowns, and was named the Big West co-Player of the week. The Huskies also have a great crop of receivers in Raymond Roberts, Vaurice Patterson, and Sean Allgood, who combine for all six receiving touchdowns on the year.

Roberts leads the Huskies in receiving, having caught 17 passes for 223 yards, and Patterson averages an astonishing 25.9 yards on 13 catches.

The Huskies also have Steve Rodgers to put them in good field position, averaging 29.8 yards on kick returns.

With the absence of execution errors, it shouldn’t be hard to understand why the Huskies have the No. 1 kick returner and rusher in the nation, and a quarterback who stands at No. 20 in passing efficiency with the season nearly half finished.