Wolfe may have shoulder surgery in offseason

By Nathan Lindquist

A nagging shoulder injury may force junior running back Garrett Wolfe to undergo surgery in the offseason.

After sustaining the injury against Michigan in the season-opener, Wolfe sat out the second half against Tennessee Tech Sept. 17 after reaggravating his right shoulder.

Coach Joe Novak said Wolfe will be evaluated at season’s end and only then will Wolfe decide whether to opt for surgery. The right shoulder has been bothering the starting tailback for quite some time, even before the Michigan game, Novak added.

Wolfe is the No. 6 rusher in the nation with 140 yards per game. A.J. Harris, Adrian Davis and Montell Clanton, Wolfe’s backups are averaging a combined 73 yards per game.


After totaling 516 yards against Miami-Ohio Wednesday night, the Huskie offense now has more than 500 yards in four straight games. NIU is No. 5 in the nation in total offense with an average of 518 yards per game, trailing only Arizona State, Texas Tech, Michigan State and USC. The Huskie passing offense is ranked No. 13 while the running game is No. 19.


Senior wide receiver Sam Hurd is having a career year and it’s only five games into the season.

After playing behind P.J. Fleck and Dan Sheldon on the depth chart for three years, the San Antonio native is taking advantage of his No. 1 wideout position. Hurd came within 12 yards of breaking Fleck’s school record for reception yards in a game with 223 on seven catches Wednesday against Miami. In his last two games, the senior has caught 21 passes for 362 yards and five touchdowns. His previous season highs were 29 receptions, 438 yards and three touchdowns.


For the first five games of the season, the NIU defense took the Eighth Commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Steal” literally. But after nearly 20 quarters without an interception, the Huskies broke their drought and it wasn’t forced by the secondary. With 1:11 remaining against the RedHawks, junior middle linebacker Keenan Blalark made a diving snag of a Josh Betts pass on the Huskie sideline to cement the victory.


Coming into the season, the leading returning tackler and go-to playmaker looked to be senior linebacker Javan Lee. But following a season-ending hernia, much of the onus has fallen on a young, inexperienced linebacking corps to pick up the slack.

Stepping up to the plate has been junior free safety Dustin Utschig, who has been a force in the secondary and run defense for the Huskies. With his 11-stop performance against Miami, Utschig has led the team in tackles three out of the four games he has played in and is ranked No. 18 in the nation with 10.75 per game.


Hurd and sophomore kicker Chris Nendick were nominees for this week’s MAC West Offensive and Special Teams players of the week, which were announced Monday. Offensive honors went to senior wide receiver Greg Jennings of Western Michigan for his 11-catch, 244-yard performance in a 60-57 loss to Ball State. Junior linebacker Mike Alston of Toledo received the defensive honors after tallying seven tackles and two sacks in a 30-2 victory over Eastern Michigan.


The 50-degree, breezy weather was not enough to stop the NIU football team from putting on its “Huskie Hurricane Helpers” car wash from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Despite the cold conditions, more than 50 cars showed up in the Castle Bank parking lot on West Lincoln Highway and the team unofficially raised more than $1,700 in money donations along with a few bags of clothes. Proceeds from the event went to Hope Haven and victims dislocated by Hurricane Katrina.