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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Head Coach Rod Carey

Football falls behind after halftime

By Patrick Smith | October 10, 2016

Head Coach Rod Carey

Redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Graham scrambles in Wednesday’s game against Western Michigan. He went 11-23 with 158 yards and two touchdowns to help lead the Huskies to their sixth straight win.

Graham coming along in starting role

By Thomas Hiley III | November 23, 2015

Redshirt freshman Ryan Graham took over as quarterback for the Huskies earlier this year after a season-ending injury to junior Drew Hare, and has gone 2-0 in his first two starts.Graham went 9-12 for 132 yards and scored a touchdown in two quarters in...

Football streak up to 6 games

By Thomas Hiley | November 19, 2015

Football (8-3, 6-1 MAC) came out on top in a tough bout against Western Michigan (6-5, 5-2 MAC) for the top spot in the MAC West.The Broncos took an early lead in the game after kicking a field goal and going down the field on 10 plays for 63 yards on...

Western Michigan Breakdown

By Thomas Hiley | November 12, 2015


Quarterback: The Broncos' passing offense ranks first in the MAC with 290 yards per game and 15th overall in the nation. Quarterback Alex Carder has played like a passing wizard, throwing for close to 2,000 yards with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions. NIU head coach Jerry Kill is familiar with Carder, having Kansas ties and was even interested in recruiting him. "He can run a little bit, can throw it and is very well coached with some good mechanics," Kill said.

Grade: B

Running back: Western Michigan running back Aaron Winchester doesn't get a lot of love in the backfield. Since Western Michigan is so pass-heavy, they don't rely on the ground game but that isn't going to stop Kill from his game plan to silence their run game. "They always have two or three receivers who will make your life difficult," Kill said. "And about time you think that's all they're going to do, they run for 150."

Grade: C-

Wide Receivers: Huskies' starting corners Patrick George and Chris Smith better be on their game Saturday afternoon. The Broncos' receiving core is headlined by All-MAC preseason pick Jordan White. The senior leads Western Michigan in receiving yards with 758 and is tied with fellow upperclassman Juan Nunez with five scores through the air.

Grade: B +

Offensive line: Left tackle Anthony Parker is the anchor of the Broncos' offensive line. The junior made the All-MAC preseason team and is a listed at 6'4" and 332 pounds. The interior of Western Michigan's line consist of all seniors in guards Phillip Swanson, Nick Clemens and center Nick Mitchell.


Defensive line: Defensive end Paul Hazel leads the Broncos with 5.5 sacks while ranking fifth on the team in tackles. Hazel resides from Florida, an area that Kill said that Western Michigan has plucked players from. "Defensively, they've gone to Florida, Georgia and recruited a ton of people," Kill said. "They are athletic as all get out on defense."

Grade: C+

Linebackers: Besides Hazel, outside linebacker Dex Jones is the Broncos' second best pass rusher ranking second on the team with four sacks. Containing this pass rushing combination will be critical for NIU to establish themselves on offense. Inside linebacker Mitch Zajac has played strictly like a tackling machine by not recording any other defensive statistic.

Grade: C

Secondary: Jamail Berry plays the "rover" position, which requires him to play both in the secondary and linebacker level. Berry leads Western Michigan with 47 total tackles. Cornerback Lewis Tolers leads the Broncos with three interceptions . Western Michigan ranks fourth in the MAC in pass defense allowing close to 200 yards per game.

Grade: C+

Special Teams: Huskies' punt block guru Jimmie Ward will have an opportunity to block one of the MAC's best punters in Ben Armer. The junior is averaging 41.5 yards a boot. Kicker John Potter has connected on six of seven field goal attempts while hitting all 29 of his point after attempts.


NIU football players celebrate in the locker room after beating the Western Michigan Broncos Friday at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo, Mich. NIU won, 31-21.

NIU football takes down Western Michigan Broncos in comeback

By Frank Gogola | November 30, 2014

Football knew it had what it took to come back from a 21-10 halftime deficit against the Western Michigan Broncos to seal its fifth-straight trip to the MAC Championship game.The Huskies (10-2, 6-1 MAC) scored the game’s final 24 points, including 21...

Quarterback Jordan Lynch (6) leaps forward through the Ball State defense Nov. 13.

Time to break the Broncos: NIU battles WMU to wrap up season

By Frank Gogola | November 26, 2013

No. 14 football (11-0, 7-0 MAC) still has a lot on the line as it wraps up its season with a match against the Western Michigan Broncos (1-10, 1-6 MAC) at 6 p.m. today at Huskie Stadium.The Huskies have already locked up the MAC West title, but a chance...