Recap: Northwestern vs. Northern Ill
Evanston, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Drew Hare passed for two touchdowns and ran for another in the second half to lift the Northern Illinois Huskies to a 23-15 decision over the Northwestern Wildcats in a non-conference tilt at Ryan Field.
Hare finished 6-of-10 passing for 109 yards while under center for NIU (2-0), which also received 71 combined passing yards from Anthony Maddie and Matt McIntosh. Akeem Daniels tallied 81 yards on 16 carries, while Da'Ron Brown contributed 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns on six receptions.
For the Wildcats (0-2), Trevor Siemian completed 27-of-41 pass attempts for 268 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Kyle Prater made seven grabs for 87 yards, while Justin Jackson racked up 52 yards on 12 rushing attempts. Northwestern is now 0-2 for the first time ever in the Pat Fitzgerald era, as it has not lost its opening two games of the regular season since 2004.
Neither offense managed to produce any points in the opening half. Northwestern's most promising drive before the break ended when Siemian was intercepted by Paris Logan in the end zone, while NIU had a 14-play, 72-yard drive to the Wildcats' eight-yard line conclude with a missed 25-yard field goal by Tyler Wedel.
NIU ended the drought on the opening drive of the third quarter, as Wedel connected on a 32-yard field goal to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats responded with just under five minutes left before the final frame when Siemian completed a 19-yard pass to Kyle Prater for the contest's first touchdown.
The Huskies answered with a 13-play, 82-yard drive that ended with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Hare to Brown. Wedel's successful extra-point conversion gave NIU a 10-7 advantage on the scoreboard as the game progressed into the final period.
NIU pulled away in the fourth frame thanks to a remarkable performance by Hare, who completed a 59-yard touchdown pass to Brown with seven minutes left in regulation. Although Wedel's extra-point try was blocked, Brown's second touchdown reception of the day gave NIU a nine-point lead. The Huskies' defensive unit stifled the Wildcats on their next offensive possession, and Hare made it a three-possession game with a four-yard touchdown scamper with only 3:27 left to play.
Zach Oliver relieved Siemian on the next possession for the hosts and connected with Pierre Youngblood-Ary on a 54-yard touchdown pass. Oliver then found Cameron Dickerson for a two-point conversion to make it a one-possession game at 23-15.
NIU recovered an on-sides kick on the ensuing kickoff and managed to pick up a first down, which allowed it to run out the clock.
The Huskies have now won three consecutive games versus Big Ten Conference opponents. Northwestern had defeated its previous 10 foes from the Mid- American Conference.
NIU outgained the Wildcats, 221-72, on the ground.Game Notes