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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

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.


huskie briefs

huskie briefs

By Northern Star Staff | September 17, 2012

Alumnae of the NIU women's basketball team will suit up for the annual Alumni Game at 11 a.m. Saturday on Victory E. Court. A ticket to the NIU women's basketball game against Ohio at 2:05 p.m. that same day will get fans a seat for the alumnae contest.

The men's basketball Alumni Game is set for Feb. 4, and also will take place at 11 a.m. A ticket to watch the current Huskies take the court for a MAC showdown with Western Michigan at 2:05 p.m. gets fans into the Alumni Game.

Mega Women

Three top 10 finishes propelled the NIU women's track and field team to a second place finish at the Eastern Illinois Mega Meet Jan. 21.

In field competition, Lindsay Chamberlain took home the 20-pound weight throw title with a heave of 17.79 meters. Ashley Morrow finished third in the weight throw, and second in the shot put; a slot ahead of teammate Margaret Gorski. Elizabeth Berquist placed second in the high jump.

NIU also had a strong showing in the track department, with a second-place finish from sprinter Ajahnae Hinley, a second-place finish in the 800 meter run from Lorene Skipper and a bronze from Bonnie Miller in the 5,000 meter run. The 4 x 400 team posted a second-place finish to add to the NIU medal count.

NIU heads to Champaign tomorrow for the Care/Health Alliance Classic hosted by the University of Illinois at 10 a.m.


The NIU women's tennis team started its season with a 7-0 loss at Wisconsin Saturday.

Wisconsin won the doubles match point and then rolled to a 5-0 sweep with a forfeit in the singles matches.

NIU coach Pontus Hiort said after the match Wisconsin is one of the top teams in the nation.

Wanted: Softball Manager

The NIU softball team is looking for a new manager for its upcoming season.

Qualified candidates must have a working knowledge of softball, be proficient with statistical maintenance and assist with equipment transportation for practices and games.

If interested please contact assistant coach Joanna Lane at 753-2245 as soon as possible.

That New Season Smell

The NIU baseball team will kick off the 2006 season Feb. 3. The Huskies will travel to Tempe for a three-game series with the Arizona State Sun Devils.

The opener will be played under the lights at 7 p.m., while the final game will be at 1 p.m. Sunday.

See you in another life when we are both cats

By Jimmy Johnson | May 6, 2012

Of the over hundred stories I wrote at the Northern Star, I loved writing every single one of them. The Cameron Bell feature? Best interview of my life. Talking to Connie Teaberry about track and field, and how the weather was so gloomy? Always puts a...

Northern Star File Photo

Story of the year for NIU sports

By Jimmy Johnson | May 6, 2012

Scott Wedige said it was a moment of disbelief. After kicker Mathew Sims nailed a 33-yard game winning field goal, the long road back to Detroit for NIU football was over: the Huskies had clinched their first MAC Championship in nearly 30 years. “The...

Better late than never: Harnish drafted as Mr. Irrelevant

Better late than never: Harnish drafted as Mr. Irrelevant

By Jimmy Johnson | April 29, 2012

It was an unusual homecoming in Bluffton, Ind. for Chandler Harnish this weekend. The former NIU quarterback didn’t head home for a family party, or to see an old friend. It was the NFL Draft, and Harnish wanted to spend this important moment in his...

Thibodeau’s explanation is all bull

By Jimmy Johnson | April 29, 2012

It’s one thing to leave your starters in to close out a game. But it’s another situation when a team can taste victory, but your starters are still out there. That was the scene Friday at the United Center in the final minutes between the Chicago...

The Rant: Phil Emery is working football magic

By Jimmy Johnson | April 24, 2012

We’re just one day away from the NFL Draft, and I can’t wait to see who new Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery is zeroed in on with the No. 19 pick. Prior to joining the Bears this offseason, Emery was the college scouting Director for the Kansas...

Lynch, Red team shine at spring football exhibition

By Jimmy Johnson | April 22, 2012

NIU football coach Dave Doeren said he wanted to see his starting offense jump to a fast start, and that’s exactly how the unit played Saturday during the controlled spring exhibition. Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch guided the Red team offense two...

Jordan Lynch runs with the ol pigskin at a spring practice for the NIU football team in Huskie Stadium Monday afternoon.

No more waiting for Lynch

By Jimmy Johnson | April 16, 2012

With wide receivers Perez Ashford, Martel Moore and left guard Logan Pegram returning, NIU football’s offense will feature plenty of new faces next season. However, there’s a face that should jog memories of a player who received modest playing time,...

Northern Star File Photo

Compher, Peters support Doeren extension

By Jimmy Johnson | April 10, 2012

The decision to give NIU football coach Dave Doeren a contract extension was discussed before the Huskies won the 2011 MAC Championship and Bowl, said NIU athletic director Jeff Compher. Compher said the decision was also based on the fact...

The Rant: Ripping into Rip

By Jimmy Johnson | April 4, 2012

It’s time to forget the notion Richard Hamilton is going to contribute for the Chicago Bulls.

I, for one, am waiting for a collage featuring Hamilton sitting on the Bulls’ bench holding his head up and sporting his egg white headband.

It’s funny how Hamilton was pegged as the acquisition to get the Bulls past the Miami Heat.

Instead, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will likely blow past him if these two teams meet in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Hamilton hasn’t been a huge disappointment, though, if you didn’t have pie-in-the-sky expectations for him.

Look at the facts: prior to joining the Bulls, Hamilton’s combined minutes from the regular season and playoffs was 32,580.

He’s old, beat up and with it being a condensed NBA season, he’s out of place.

The Bulls’ only chance to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy will come down to getting top-notch performances from Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, and not from Mr. Glass.

Players leaving NIU raises major concerns

By Jimmy Johnson | April 3, 2012

Two years ago, NIU football was hit with a major loss when then coach Jerry Kill bolted for Minnesota. It was a decision that left many bitter, upset and questioned what went into Kill’s choice to leave. Soon after the Kill departed, Jeff Compher, NIU...