NIU to settle score in dog fight


Bowl hopes may be shattered for the Huskies, but they do have one more chance to let the Big West know what Huskie football is all about when they travel to Ruston, Louisiana and take on Louisiana Tech, Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m.

The Huskies (3-2, 4-4) are once again without senior quarterback Scott Crabtree, who has been out since the first series of the Pacific game due to a separated shoulder.

Sophomore, Ron Reichert will be in control again, after throwing three interceptions in last week’s 33-19 loss to Southwestern Louisiana.

With Reichert at quarterback the Huskies were able to score only 40 points through the course of two games, while Crabtree has led the Huskies to over 45 points in a single game on two occasions this season.

The Huskies will be calling on senior tailback LeShon Johnson to do the job once again this week, coming off a 173-yard, two touchdown performance, including a 75 yarder against the nation’s third ranked rushing defense.

Louisiana Tech (1-1, 1-5) are paying only their third conference game, and their second home game of the season.

Also, the Bulldogs are shooting for their 18th straight home victory dating back to 1989, when Tech opened at home as a Division I-A team for the first time. In the game the Bulldogs ironically beat the Huskies 42-21.

Four and a half home seasons later, the dogs meet again in Aillet Stadium, finding themselves in the same conference.

Although this contest may not seem to be the big game of the year, it gained national recognition in Sports Illustrated’s College Football Preview when SI said that NIU will end the Bulldogs home winning streak.

The Huskies do have the media on their side, but at home the Bulldogs are a totally different team.

Tech has outscored their opponents by a whopping 553 to 227 since the streak began, scoring 30 points or more in 11 games. That’s an average of 32.5 to 13.4 per game.

Just last year the Bulldogs outscored Aillet Stadium victims 140 to 31.

Tech’s 1-5 record this year is a little better than it looks.

The Bulldog’s schedule ranked as the 13th toughest in Division I-A this year, containing the likes of No. 8 Tennessee (5-1-1), No. 5 Alabama (6-0-1) and South Carolina (4-4), who combined, outscored LTU 110 to 6.

With Reichert at quarterback for the Huskies, Tech’s defense is going to key on Johnson all day, but unlike USL’s rushing defense, the Bulldogs are ranked 73rd against the rush, just five spots behind the Huskies.

Offensively, Tech will throw the ball more than usual, and try to put points on the board quickly.

The Bulldogs are averaging 150.8 air yards per game this year, but they haven’t been able to put the ball in the end zone, averaging just 9.5 points per game (104th).


Matt Kerlin—”The Huskie defense has showed improvements, but they are still vulnerable in some parts. The only good news for NIU this week is that the Bulldogs’ offense is actually worse than the Huskies’. Johnson will have 250 for the last time in his college career. NIU 17 Tech 16.

John Dietz—”This defense of LTU may not look very good on paper, but when they send 10 guys to the line to stop Johnson its all over. La. Tech 27 NIU 18. Johnson: 178 yards.”