NIU’s offense, winning year go south

By Brian Wiencek

NIU’s football team was hoping to finish the season on a high note as the title of a winning season was on the line.

However, the Huskies will have to wait another year because there will be no winning season in 1992 as the Toledo Rockets (8-3) pounded the Huskies (5-6) 25-8 Saturday in front of just 5,220 fans at Huskie Stadium.

NIU could not generate one bit of offense as the Huskies were held to only 14 yards and no points in the first half.

Junior quarterback Scott Crabtree was one-for-seven for eight yards. NIU head coach Charlie Sadler waited until midway through the third quarter before putting in senior Rob Rugai, who managed to engineer the only scoring drive of the day for NIU. Rugai was 4-of-10 for 44 yards and one interception.

Not even the No. 4 rusher in the nation could figure out the Toledo defense. For the second weekend in a row, junior tailback LeShon Johnson was stifled as he was held to 76 yards on 29 carries.

The defense had a long day as Toledo rolled up 274 rushing yards, 128 passing yards and 402 yards of total offense. The Huskie defense forced no turnovers and could only get the ball back via a kickoff or the lone punt in the first quarter.

“We actually had seven starters not on the field defensively,” said Sadler. “So I knew that with their offense that it could be a long day for us from a defensive standpoint.”

Toledo’s Reggie Walls started the scoring with the only Rocket touchdown of the day on a 19-yard run that capped off a five-play, 78-yard drive that lasted two minutes.

From there, Toledo placekicker Rusty Hanna hit five straight unanswered field goals from 22, 30, 32, 22 and 33 yards out putting Toledo up 22-0.

With just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter, NIU’s Jamie Dobay threw for the longest yardage-gainer of the day on a fake punt. After a Johnson run, Rugai came in and drove the Huskies 23 yards for their lone score of the day on a Johnson one-yard run. Rugai came right back with the two-point conversion on a quarterback keeper to bring NIU within 22-8.

Hanna came back late in the fourth quarter with his longest field goal of the day (42 yards) to end the scoring at 25-8.