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Northern Star

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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Drew Hare (12) runs with the ball in the game against the Toledo Rockets on Nov. 11 at Huskie Stadium. Student-athletes from all Div. I sports are eligible to receive cost of attendance scholarships.

NIU football: Quarterback Drew Hare seeks to improve before fall

By Frank Gogola | April 13, 2015

Redshirt junior quarterback Drew Hare would have a grade of “B” in offensive coordinator Bob Cole’s book — unless Cole was using NIU’s plus-minus grading system.Cole, also the quarterbacks coach, said he’d give Hare a grade of 80 out of 100...

NIU football spring camp notebook: Huskie Bowl preview, injury updates

By Frank Gogola | April 10, 2015

The Black squad slowly walked off the field at the Chessick Practice Center around 7:45 a.m. Thursday, staring down the Cardinal squad, which was still running plays in preparation for Huskie Bowl III. As the Cardinal squad, practicing on the western...

NIU football: Huskies more ‘versatile’ on offense

By Frank Gogola | April 6, 2015

On paper, football should be a much more pass-heavy team than in past years.The Huskies lose Da’Ron Brown and his team-leading 1,065 receiving yards, but they return eight receivers — six of whom played in 11 or more games — from last year’s squad....

NIU football spring camp notebook: Receivers dominate, new injuries popping up and more

By Frank Gogola | March 28, 2015

Junior wide receiver Aregeros Turner and the receiver corps stole the show during football’s spring practice Friday inside the Chessick Practice Center.The 5-foot-11, 173-pound wideout caught nearly everything thrown his way during 7-on-7s and the live...

NIU football: Huskies open spring camp Tuesday

By Frank Gogola | March 2, 2015

Football officially gets back in the swing of things with the start of spring camp Tuesday.The Huskies open spring practice 6:50 a.m. Tuesday at Huskie Stadium or the Chessick Practice Center depending upon the weather. They’ll practice 15 times during...

NIU football: Spring return expected for Chad Beebe

By Frank Gogola | February 5, 2015

Football head coach Rod Carey said Wednesday that Chad Beebe, sophomore wide receiver and punt returner, is on track to return for spring practice.Beebe broke his left arm on a first-quarter punt return in the MAC Championship game Dec. 5 at Ford Field...

Leading not new to Brown

By Danny Albers | November 19, 2014

Da’Ron Brown stepped into a leadership role when injuries plagued football’s offense.Brown, redshirt senior wide receiver, has been playing wide receiver at NIU for four seasons. So, when fellow senior wide receiver Tommylee Lewis was ruled out for...

Senior Tommylee Lewis returns a kickoff against the Purdue Boilermakers Sept. 28 in West Lafayette, Ind. Lewis, who has returned four kickoffs for touchdowns in his three years at NIU, should play a vital role for the Huskies in the return game against Presbyterian.

Football’s Lewis injured, out for rest of season

By Frank Gogola | September 24, 2014

Football will be without the services of Tommylee Lewis, senior wide receiver and return specialist, for the rest of the 2014 season due to a lower body injury, according to a news release.Lewis, who was wearing a walking boot on his left foot at practice...

Football facing Rebels with a cause

By Frank Gogola | September 10, 2014

Football prepares to battle the Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels (1-1) and the dry heat when it lands down in Las Vegas in the midst of its three-game, non-conference road trip.The Huskies (2-0) will take on the Rebels 6 p.m. Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium. The...

Football’s goals remain the same

By Frank Gogola | August 27, 2014

Talk last season by fans and media alike revolved around the possibility of NIU crashing the Bowl Championship Series party for the second straight year.And why not? The Huskies were coming off an Orange Bowl berth, had a future first-round pick in playmaking...

Junior running back Cameron Stingily (42) stiff arms the Toledo defense during Wednesday night’s game.  NIU won, 35-17, taking the MAC West title. It will head to the MAC Championship game for the fourth season in a row.

Breaking Down the Huskies

By Frank Gogola | August 26, 2014

Quarterback: Without a doubt, the difference maker for the Huskies is senior Jordan Lynch. As he goes, the Huskies offense goes.

Lynch produced one of the most historic seasons in college football history last season, becoming the only quarterback to run for more than 1,500 yards as well as throw the ball for more than 3,000 yards. Going into this season, Lynch looks to continue that success starting with Iowa. In the season opener against Iowa last year, it was Lynch’s first collegiate start and was seemingly one-dimensional, relying heavily on the running game. Lynch is a different quarterback than he was then so expect him to exploit the Iowa defense throw the air as well as on the ground for big plays.

Running back: Senior Akeem Daniels has had trouble staying on the field due to nagging injuries. Cue junior Cameron Stingily as he is expected to get the start and carry the workload for the Huskies. Stingily came into NIU as a middle linebacker but last season he was converted to running back. Stingily does not have a lot of experience under as belt as last season he made one carry for 5 yards. But he will be a strong addition to the run game as a power back, something the Huskies have lacked the last few of seasons. You can expect Stingily to pound the ball right up the middle and fight for every extra yard.

Wide receiver: Junior TommyLee Lewis comes in this season as the most experienced wide receiver on the team. He will need to step up to fill the void left by former receivers Martel Moore and Perez Ashford. With Lewis generally playing in the slot, he creates mismatches for defenses with his speed and is able to create a number of big play opportunities. He can make big plays by stretching the defense or catching short passes and running for big gains after the catch. Last season, Lewis made 48 receptions for 539 yards and five touchdowns.

Offensive line: Protecting the quarterback’s blind side may be the most important job for the offensive line. That’s why junior left tackle Tyler Loos will be such a factor against Iowa as well as the rest of the season. Last season, Loos and the offensive line did a great job of protecting Lynch’s blind side and they only gave up eight sacks all season. Loos and the line not only kept Lynch off the ground but they opened up numerous, gaping holes for Lynch and others to run through for big gains. If Loos and the rest of the line are able to contain Iowa’s bigger defensive line, the Huskies’ offense should thrive in Iowa City.

Defensive line: Last season in the Huskies’ matchup against the Hawkeyes, the Huskies recorded six sacks. Senior Joe Windsor led the Huskies that game with his two big sacks for a loss of 19 yards in limited action. In a backup role all season, Windsor made a case that he could even be a starting defensive end as he was third on the team with seven sacks. With Windsor’s speed around the edge he is a constant threat, and he should put a lot of pressure on Iowa’s new starting quarterback, Jake Rudock. Now that Windsor will start, expect to hear his name called a lot.

Linebacker: Junior Jamaal Bass is someone who just has a nose for the football. You can expect him to be around the ball at all times making big tackles left and right. Last season, Bass was third on the team with 83 tackles, 45 of them solo. He was behind senior defensive back Jimmie Ward and former linebacker Tyrone Clark. With the departure of Clark and his 86 tackles from last season, Bass becomes the leader of the line backing core. Bass doesn’t come in as the biggest guy on the field, standing at 5’10”, 225 pounds, but he makes up for it with his speed and ability to cover the field.

Defensive Back: The leader of the defensive backs and defense falls on senior Jimmie Ward.

Last season, Ward did it all for the Huskies. He led the team in tackles by recording 104 and 65 of them solo. His mentality for each game is to record at least 10 tackles a game and he prides himself on making big stops. He was also a ball hawk in coverage for the Huskies, leading the team with three interceptions and was second with 11 pass breakups. You can expect Ward to continue flying around the field this season recording tackle after tackle.

Special teams: Coach Rod Carey has said the keys to victory against Iowa are to have good ball control and a strong kicking game.

Although not really needed for anything more than extra points last season, senior kicker Mathew Sims has been more than reliable. Last season he went 15-19 on field goals. He’s also proven his clutch factor as he made one of the biggest kicks in NIU history, a 40-yard field goal against Kent State in the MAC Championship to tie the game and send it into double overtime. Sims has also proven he can be good from beyond 50 or more yards as he hit a 54 yard field goal against Western Michigan last season.

Five Huskies named to watch lists

By Frank Gogola | July 20, 2014

Five football upperclassmen made preseason watch lists over the past two weeks.A total of 15 watch lists are revealed during 10 days in July. The watch lists are whittled down throughout the season, and the winner of each award is announced in early December.Tommylee...