Harb

Tre Harbison, redshirt junior running back, wins the edge on a run Tuesday during NIU's home loss against Eastern Michigan University at Huskie Stadium.

DeKALB — It’s been a mix of good days and bad days for the football team this season.

An inconsistent 2019 saw another check mark go into the ‘bad days’ column Tuesday when the Huskies fell to Eastern Michigan University by a score of 45-17.

The loss delivered two knockout punches to NIU, eliminating it from the Mid-American Conference West division title and bowl contention.

One of the most glaring issues the Huskies have had this season is injuries. A majority of the positions on the field have seen time lost to player injuries, leaving the Huskies to dig deeper into the depth-chart.

On a Huskie team struggling to find consistency, one position has been rock solid all season long: running back 1, occupied by redshirt junior Tre Harbison. The running back has been a work horse, being on the field from the first snap of the season through the last snap Tuesday night.

Harbison was the bright spot of the Huskies’ offense against the Eagles, carrying the ball 30 times for 112 yards. With those 112 yards, Harbison crossed the 1,000-yard milestone for the second season in a row.

“I think one thing [Harbison] did out there [Tuesday] was he battled for our offense,” Head Coach Thomas Hammock said. “We knew we had some limitations in what we could do, but he went out there and kept trying to move the ball.”

Harbison notched his fifth 100-yard game in seven MAC contests. After rushing for just 223 yards in the first four non-conference games, he’s carried the ball 176 times in conference play for 797 yards.

The Huskie has averaged 114 rushing yards per game in MAC play, an improvement from 98.1 yards per game in 2018 MAC play.

His stats are beginning to accumulate too. This season, Harbison has moved from 31st to 14th on the school’s all-time rushing list, 85 yards behind Hammock, who gained 2,432 yards in his storied Huskie career from 1999-2002.

“I think it’s awesome for him to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons,” Hammock said. “He’s going to tell you it’s not about the individual awards, it’s about winning, but that is something he should certainly be proud of.”

Hammock was correct, as Harbison played off his accomplishments in the wake of his team’s loss.

“I’m not a big ‘me’ guy, so it kind of sucks right now that we didn’t go out there for the seniors, because I love those guys,” Harbison said. “It’s great for my family and all, but it sucks we only have one more game left in the season.”

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