Season hasn’t exactly gone Horvath’s way

By Sean Ostruszka

Phil Horvath may be the unluckiest man on campus. He’s been questioned, battled, ripped apart, questioned some more, blamed, left out to dry and now broken.

What can this guy do to catch a break? Oh wait he already got one … in his arm.

He’s a college quarterback, for crying out loud. That’s the dreamiest job for a college guy next to personal masseuse for the Silverettes. He’s supposed to be living the dream, not waking up in a nightmare.

And things only look to get worse.

Wednesday will mark the umpteenth time NIU will try to beat Toledo. If it does, NIU is one win away from a MAC title. Lose and, well, we all know what happens when we lose.

The game is on national television, but the only time you’ll see Horvath’s face is if he throws his clipboard or when the announcers point out to the nation the cast on his arm.

Face it, there really is no good outcome of the Toledo game for Horvath.

Look at his scenarios:

(A) NIU wins. Backup Dan Nicholson goes off for 350 yards passing with three touchdowns. Horvath is happy the team won, but afterwards realizes nobody even remembers he’s a player. He’s pretty much forgotten faster than the saying “Waaassss uuuupppp.”

(B) NIU loses. The offense sputters and Horvath doesn’t sleep for a month. Every night he lies awake haunted with the thoughts of what could have happened if he had been able to play.

Yeah, right now Horvath’s job is about as appealing as the Huskie mascot’s on a 100-degree day.

And it wasn’t much more appealing before. He had to fight for his job before the season and was ripped apart early on. His fail-safe backup plan of a good running game is nursing myriad injuries and even when he threw for more than 400 yards he lost.

How do you spell punching bag? H-o-r-v-a-t-h.

The thing is, Horvath is a good quarterback. Is he pretty? No. Some of his throws look like a balloon with a hole in it. But he gets the job done and that’s all NIU coach Joe Novak asks for.

Plus, with everyone calling for his head he has still put up some of the best passing numbers NIU has seen in years. He completes 70 percent of his passes, has passed for more than 2,000 yards and tossed 18 touchdowns. Imagine what he could do if everything was going right.

It’s pretty safe to say this season hasn’t gone exactly how Horvath planned. Nobody goes into a season saying, “Gee, I think it’d be great to have a .500 record and break my arm.”

But he is a junior, which means next year he gets a second crack at righting the ship.

Can he do it? I believe he can – with a little luck.