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2008 Northern Illinois Huskies Season
Northern Illinois DE Larry English
Northern Illinois DE Larry English
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 31, 2009


2008 Northern Illinois Huskies Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 Northern Illinois Huskies

Dec. 28
2008 Independence Bowl
Louisiana Tech 17 … Northern Illinois 10

In an occasionally ugly defensive struggle, Louisiana Tech got a 97-yard kickoff return from Phillip Livas as an answer to an eight-yard Kyle Skarb touchdown catch in the first quarter to tie it at seven, and then it took the lead for good with an 11-yard Daniel Porter touchdown run in the second. The two teams traded field goals in the third quarter, while three turnovers and inefficiency wouldn’t allow the Huskies to get closer than seven.
Player of the game: Louisiana Tech WR Phillip Livas caught four passes for 18 yards and returned a punt 97 yards for a score. 
Stat Leaders: Northern Illinois - Passing: Chandler Harnish, 20-40, 186 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Chad Spann, 14-79. Receiving: Matt Simon, 6-44
Louisiana Tech - Passing: Ross Jenkins, 12-27, 144 yds
Rushing: Daniel Porter, 18-78, 1 TD. Receiving: Phillip Livas, 4-18
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Independence Bowl …Louisiana Tech LB Weldon Brown led all defensive players with 14 tackles with an interception and a fumble recovery … Third down conversions: NIU 7-of-16 – Tech 2-of-14. … Total yards: NIU 339 – LT 236. … First quarter time of possession: NIU 11:46 – LT 3:14. … Punts put inside the 20: LT 4 – NIU 0.

- 2008 NIU Preview  
- 2007 NIU Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 4-8
2008 Record: 6-7

Aug. 30 at Minnesota L 31-27
Sept. 6 at Western Mich L 29-26
Sept. 13 OPEN DATE
Sept. 20 Indiana State W 48-3
Sept. 27 at Eastern Mich W 37-0
Oct. 4 at Tennessee L 13-9
Oct. 11 Miami Univ. W 17-13
Oct. 18 Toledo W 38-7
Oct. 25 Bowling Green W 16-13
Nov. 5 at Ball State L 45-14
Nov. 12 Central Mich L 33-30 OT
Nov. 18 at Kent State W 42-14
Nov. 22 OPEN DATE
Nov. 25 Navy L 16-0
Independence Bowl
Dec. 28 Louisiana Tech L 17-10

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 6-6
2007 Record:
2-10

Sept. 1 Iowa (in Chic) L 16-3
Sept. 8 So Illinois L 34-31
Sept. 15 Eastern Mich L 21-19
Sept. 22 at Idaho W 42-35
Sept. 29 at Central Mich L 35-10
Oct. 6
at Temple L 16-15
Oct. 13 Western Mich L 17-13
Oct. 20 at Wisconsin L 44-3
Oct. 27 at Toledo L 70-21
Nov. 10
Kent State W 27-20
Nov. 17 at Navy L 35-24
Nov. 24
Ball State L 27-21

Nov. 25
Navy 16 … Northern Illinois 0
Navy ran for 262 yards and got all the points it needed on a 27-yard Matt Harmon field goal in the second quarter. Ricky Dobbs ran for a one-yard score in the second, and Eric Kettani added one in the third. The NIU offense was held to 251 yards and turned the ball over twice. Navy only completed one pass for 32 yards.
Player of the game: Navy QB Ricky Dobbs completed one pass for 32 yards and ran 25 times for 124 yards and a score.
Stat Leaders: Northern Illinois - Passing: Chandler Harnish, 14-24, 116, 2 INT
Rushing: Chandler Harnish, 14-64. Receiving: Marcus Perez, 4-36
Navy - Passing: Ricky Dobbs, 1-1, 32 yds
Rushing: Ricky Dobbs, 25-124, 1 TD. Receiving: Greg Shinego, 1-32
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Now a bowl game appears to be gone. It was going to be a little bit of a long shot at 7-5 to get a 13th game, but after getting shut out at home by Navy, the chances to go bowling are over. It was a strange performance against a Navy defense that isn’t nearly as good as it appeared. The NIU D did a decent job of keeping the Navy offense in check, but there was simply no support on the other side. Even though the season ended with a wildly disappointing stretch of three losses in the last four games, the turnaround under Jerry Kill was fantastic. The stage has been set for next year.

Nov. 18
Northern Illinois 42 ... Kent State 14
Kent State lost three fumbles in the snow, and NIU took advantage with Craig Rusch taking one fumble 60 yards for a score and the offense capitalizing on the other two. NIU got two touchdown runs from Chandler Harnish, including a 31-yarder in the third, and he threw a two-yard touchdown pass to help the Huskies get up 28-7, but Kent State pushed close with a two-yard Eugene Jarvis touchdown run in the third. NIU quickly answered with a 26-yard Chad Spann touchdown run and closed thins out with a 17-yard Harnish pass to Matt Simon.
Player of the game: Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish completed 12-of-19 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns and he ran 20 times for 117 yards and three scores.
Stat Leaders: Northern Illinois - Passing: Chandler Harnish, 12-19, 173, 2 TD
Rushing: Chandler Harnish, 20-117, 2 TD. Receiving: Marcus Perez, 4-75
Kent State - Passing: Julian Edelman, 11-21, 126 yds
Rushing: Julian Edelman, 19-108. Receiving: Eugene Jarvis, 3-50
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The turnaround can be complete under head coach Jerry Kill. After a 2-10 season, and with a week off coming, NIU can go bowling with a win over Navy. Call the blasting of Kent State a training day before dealing with the Navy attack. Of course they two teams play different styles, but NIU now knows a little bit about how to deal with a running quarterback. The Huskies aren't even pretending to use their tailbacks at this point. It's all about Chandler Harnish, who got 20 carries while Ricky Crider and Chad Spann combined for 16 carries. The run defense gave up 108 yards to Kent State QB Julian Edelman, but nothing (15 yards on 13 carries) to RB Eugene Jarvis. Remember that going into the Navy game.

Nov. 13
Central Michigan 33 ... Northern Illinois 30 OT
Central Michigan got a Josh Gordy interception in overtime and Andrew Aguila came through with a 40-yard field goal to avoid the choke. The Chippewas got up 30-6 in the third quarter with an eight-yard Dan LeFevour touchdown to end the run. And then NIU want nuts as Chad Spann ran for two short touchdowns and Chandler Harnish ran for a one-yard score, and Mike Salerno nailed a 25-yarder with 19 seconds to play to end the 24-point run to force overtime. LeFevour ran for two touchdowns and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown and hit Ontario Sneed, who took the pass 27 yards for a score.
Player of the game: Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour completed 19-of-26 passes for 189 yards and two touchdown and ran 29 times for 121 yards and two scores
Stat Leaders: Northern Illinois - Passing: Chandler Harnish, 18-36, 288 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Chandler Harnish, 17-31, 1 TD. Receiving: Matt Simon, 6-131
Central Michigan - Passing: Dan LeFevour, 19-26, 189 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Dan LeFevour, 29-121 yds, 2 TD. Receiving: Antonio Brown, 7-50, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... NIU showed the offense worked in comeback mode with Chandler Harnish finding ways to come back against Central Michigan to force overtime. However, mistakes and the lack of a consistent stop against Dan LeFevour and the CMU running game early on proved to be a major problem and forced the comeback in the first place. NIU needs to reestablish the running game over the final few weeks against Kent State and Navy to give the defense a break. If CMU couldn't handle LeFevour running the ball, it's not going to handle Kent State QB Julian Edelman or Navy's mobile quarterbacks. Chandler Harnish can't be asked to carry the entire attack.

Nov. 5
Ball State 45 … Northern Illinois 14
Ball State held a 21-0 first half lead on two of Nate Davis’s four touchdown passes, including the first of two scoring grabs from Darius Hill and a 25-yard catch from Daniel Ifft. The NIU offense turned it over twice and struggled to get going, failing to get into the end zone until the final 1:34 on a 40-yard Ricky Crider run. Ball State outgained NIU 529 yards to 275.
Player of the game: Ball State QB Nate Davis completed 18-of-22 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran for 10 yards and a score.
Stat Leaders: Northern Illinois - Passing: Chandler Harnish, 14-22, 115 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Chandler Harnish, 12-59, 1 TD. Receiving: Connor Flahive, 4-24
Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 18-22, 300 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 19-119, 1 TD. Receiving: Louis Johnson, 6-165, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The NIU offense simply couldn’t get anything going and couldn’t get the chains moving against Ball State. The defense didn’t get to Nate Davis enough but the run defense did a decent job outside of allowing two big runs. Ball State might be the best team in the MAC by far, so there’s no reason to get too down, but at 5-4, the Huskies have to do something splashy, like beat Central Michigan next week, and need to be 8-4 to get a bowl bid.

Oct. 25
Northern Illinois 16 … Bowling Green 13
NIU got a 30-yard field goal from Mike Salerno with 12 seconds left for the win. Salerno opened the scoring with a 52-yard bomb in the first quarter, and he also hit a 25-yarder to tie it at 13 in the fourth. Bowling Green kept pace with two Sinisa Vrvilo field goals and an 18-yard Marques Parks touchdown catch, while NIU got its touchdown in the third on a one-yard Chad Spann run. The Bowling Green offense finished with just 168 yards and went nowhere in the fourth.
Player of the game: Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish completed 5-of-12 passes for 45 yards with two interceptions, and ran 19 times for 113 yards.
Stat Leaders: Bowling Green - Passing: Tyler Sheehan, 15-21, 92 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Anthony Turner, 10-39. Receiving: Corey Partridge, 6-21
Northern Illinois - Passing: Chandler Harnish, 5-12, 45 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Chandler Harnish, 19-113. Receiving: Brandon Beal, 3-34.
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... After losing three of the last four games, Bowling Green has excused itself from the MAC race. It’s not like the losses are bad blowouts, but there’s been a stunning power outage at the worst possible time. Tyler Sheehan and the passing game could only must 92 yards against NIU, while the running game was even worse being held to just 76 yards. Even so, the team was in it up until the end. Against Kent State and Ohio, Sheehan has to get hot. There’s too much firepower on the O not to be doing more.

Oct. 18
Northern Illinois 38 … Toledo 7
Chandler Harnish was back and healthy from an injured foot to throw three touchdown passes including two to Marcus Perez from 45 and 15 yards out. Chad Spann ran for two first half touchdowns to help NIU to get out to a 21-0 lead, but Toledo would try to make a run early in the second half with a 21-yard Morgan Williams run. But that was it for a sloppy Rocket team that struggled in pas protection and turned it over three times.
Player of the game: Chandler Harnish completed 12-of-16 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns and ran eight times for 60 yards
Stat Leaders: Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 16-22, 138 yds
Rushing: Morgan Williams, 8-50, 1 TD. Receiving: Stephen Williams, 9-75
Northern Illinois - Passing: Chandler Harnish, 12-16, 173 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Chad Spann, 15-82, 2 TD. Receiving: Marcus Perez, 3-68, 2 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... NIU is right in the thick of the MAC title chase thanks to a strong defense that’s stopping everyone cold. The Huskie D hasn’t allowed more than 13 points in a game over the last five, and that’s with injuries starting to hit. Head coach Jerry Kill has done a great job of developing depth, and his defense has come through, highlighted by the great performance against Toledo. If NIU really thinks it can win a MAC title, it has to blow through Bowling Green next week to get to Ball State.

Oct. 11
Northern Illinois 17 … Miami University 13
Northern Illinois held on with two broken up passes in the end zone in the final seconds to stop a last-gasp MU drive. The RedHawks took a 13-10 lead on a 63-yard punt return for a score from Eugene Harris and two Nathan Parseghian field goals, but NIU grabbed the lead for good late in the third quarter on a two-yard Chad Spann run. Miami only managed 284 yards of total offense to NIU’s 326.
Player of the game: Northern Illinois RB Meco Brown ran 11 times for 101 yards
Stat Leaders: Miami Univ. - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 14-23, 115 yds
Rushing: Thomas Merriweather, 13-40. Receiving: Andre Bratton, 4-41
Northern Illinois - Passing: DeMarcus Grady, 7-12, 63 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Meco Brown, 11-101. Receiving: Marcus Perez, 2-42
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... NIU very quietly has gone 2-1 in MAC play and is now in the thick of the race after holding on against Miami. It wasn’t a convincing win, the offense didn’t do enough to serve notice that the MAC title is on the way, but the defense held up late and kept a struggling RedHawk offense out of the end zone. This was the first of a big stretch of games with three of the next four at home with Toledo up next. The Rockets might be flying high after beating Michigan, but the offense is having even more issues than Miami’s.

Oct. 4
Tennessee 13 … Northern Illinois 9
Nick Stephens got the starting quarterback call for Tennessee and he came up with a 52-yard touchdown pass to Denarius Moore in the third quarter. That was the highlight. Tennessee’s offense sputtered, gaining a mere 225 yards, but the defense came through holding NIU to just 194 yards of offense and three Mike Salerno field goals. Daniel Lincoln connected from 36 and 34 yards out for the Vols.
Player of the game: Tennessee LB Rico McCoy made eight tackles and a sack
Stat Leaders: Tennessee - Passing: Nick Stephens, 10-17, 156 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
Arian Foster, 18-75. Receiving: Denarius Moore, 3-65, 1 TD
Northern Illinois
- Passing: Dan Nicholson, 10-15, 79 yds
Rushing:
DeMarcus Grady, 14-41. Receiving: Nathan Palmer, 4-26

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Huskies fought hard at Tennessee, and the defense did a great job of keeping the middling Vol offense in check, but the offense couldn’t get going against a great defense. Losing Dan Nicholson once again to a shoulder injury is going to be a problem with winnable MAC games coming up. NIU has four home games in the next five, and now it’ll be up to DeMarcus Grady to run the offense. It would be nice if the running game, especially Justin Anderson, could start to take over a bit more.

Sept. 27
Northern Illinois 37 … Eastern Michigan 0
True freshman Me’Co Brown ran for a 26-yard touchdown, DeMarcus Grady, Marcus Perez, and Justin Anderson added short scoring runs, and Kyle Skarb caught a four-yard touchdown pass as Northern Illinois rolled to a shut out win. Eastern Michigan, who lost starting QB Kyle McMahon early in the game to a shoulder problem, moved the ball a bit, but stalled on drive after drive and missed a field goal among other scoring chances.
Player of the game: Northern Illinois RB Me’co Brown had 17 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Northern Illinois - Passing: Dan Nicholson, 11-15, 92 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
Me’co Brown, 17-111, 1 TD. Receiving: Greg Turner, 5-24
Eastern Michigan
- Passing: Andy Schmitt, 21-37, 140 yds, 1 INT
Rushing:
Kyle McMahon, 2-32. Receiving: Jacory Stone, 9-98
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Northern Illinois is starting to come together coming off an efficient, effective performance against Eastern Michigan. Now comes a date at Tennessee, but if the Huskies can get 13-of-17 passing and can convert 9-of-14 on third down chances, they might have a shot. The offense is spreading around the running game well with eight different players getting carries, and Me’Co Brown playing extremely well before going down with an ankle injury.

Sept. 20
Northern Illinois 48 … Indiana State 3
Northern Illinois got a 19-yard touchdown pass and a six-yard scoring run from Demarcus Grady and Bradley Pruitt returned an interception 54 yard for a touchdown as part of a 21-point second quarter and a 31-0 NIU lead. Indiana State managed a 42-yard field goal at the end of the first half, but it was only held to 154 yards of total offense with 31 on the ground. The two teams combined to turn it over seven times.
Player of the game:
Northern Illinois DE Brandon Bice had five tackles, three tackles for loss, and a sack.
Stat Leaders: Indiana State
- Passing: Calvin Schmidtke, 9-18, 46 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Chuck Dowdell, 4-22. Receiving: Ryan Patrick, 4-23
Northern Illinois
- Passing: Dan Nicholson, 5-10, 37 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Chad Spann, 3-73, 1 TD. Receiving: Matt Simon, 3-42, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
NIU did what it was supposed to do against an awful Indiana State team. The Huskie defense stuffed the Sycamores all game long, while the offense got everyone involved including freshman QB Demarcus Grady, who showed enough pop running the ball and with is two throws to warrant more time. Now with Eastern Michigan up next, the offense has to continue to keep the chains moving and has to keep up the balance.

Sept. 6
Western Michigan 29 … Northern Illinois 26
Western Michigan took the lead for good midway through the fourth quarter as Tim Hiller ran for a five-yard touchdown and threw a one-yard scoring pass to Austin Pritchard, a linebacker. NIU came up with a 16-yard Greg Turner touchdown catch in the final minute, but couldn’t recover the onside kick. The Broncos got a 26-yard Jamarko Simmons scoring grab in the first half along with a seven-yard Brandon West touchdown run, but the Huskies stayed alive with two Mike Salerno field goals before taking the lead on a three-yard Demarcus Gray run. And then Hiller took charge of the game and the Broncos survived.
Player of the game:
 Western Michigan RB Brandon West ran 25 times for 175 yards and caught two passes for nine yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Northern Illinois - Passing: Dan Nicholson, 16-29, 239 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Meco Brown, 13-54, 1 TD  Receiving: Marcus Perez, 6-77
Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 21-30, 186 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Brandon West, 25-175. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 8-102, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Is Dan Nicholson the quarterback now? He stepped in early for an injured Chandler Harnish, who suffered a foot injury early against Western Michigan, and did a good job, but couldn’t come through late. The real question mark is at running back where Justin Anderson only got four carries for four yards as Meco Brown was the team’s leading rusher. NIU should’ve pulled out this win having outplayed the Broncos for most of the game.

Aug. 30
Minnesota 31 ... Northern Illinois 27
In a wild game with several huge plays, Minnesota could've tied it late with a field goal, but went for it on fourth and one, made it, and got a one-yard Duane Bennett touchdown run with 22 seconds to play. But NIU would have a final shot helped by a kickoff that went out of bounds. Two late passes in the end zone were knocked down, and the Gophers escaped, but not before giving up Nathan Palmer second half touchdown catches from 91 and 52 yards out, but Minnesota kept up the pace with Adam Weber hitting Jack Simmons on a 53-yard touchdown and Bennett scoring on a 61-yard dash for a 24-13 lead before Palmer went to work. The Gophers went 74 yards in ten plays for the final score.
Player of the game: Vir
Stat Leaders: Minnesota - Passing: Adam Weber, 24-37, 298 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Duane Bennett, 18-92, 2 TD. Receiving: Eric Decker, 10-89, 1 TD
Northern Illinois - Passing: Chandler Harnish, 17-29, 326 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Justin Anderson, 13-34, 1 TD. Receiving: Britt Davis, 4-24
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
NIU might have lost to Minnesota, but it found a quarterback. Chandler Harnish had a huge game once he settled down in the second half. It helped to get big plays from Nathan Palmer to make the stats shine, but Harnish proved to be a player the offense can build around. Justin Anderson didn't get going on the ground, and that has to change in a real hurry or Harnish will have to do even more.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Logan Pegram, 6-3, 298, OL, Fr., Silver Lake, Kansas (Silver Lake HS) Named to the Topeka Capital Journal's All-State Top 11 as a senior and All-State Top 33 as a junior... played his way onto the 2006 Kansas-Sports.com All-State First Team... was a member of the Kansas Shrine Bowl All-Star Team... garnered all-conference honors as an offensive lineman in both his junior and senior seasons... also played defensive tackle compiling 46 tackles (23 solo) as a senior and 37 (21 solo) as a junior... helped lead the Eagles to a 14-0 record and the Kansas Class 3A State Championship as a junior... team finished as the state runner-up in his three other seasons with the program.

Potential Instant Impact Players

Brandon Rogers, 6-2, 210, QB, Fr., Broken Arrow, Okla. (Tulsa Union HS)
An Oklahoma Football Coaches Association First Team All-State selection... named to the Tulsa World All-Metro First Team... earned Class 6A-3 Most Valuable Player accolades... threw for 2,565 yards and 25 touchdowns his senior year... rushed for 10 touchdowns... helped the Redskins to a 13-1 record and the state championship game... as a junior, completed 119-of-205 passes for 1,586 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Jody Van Laanen, 6-0, 205, S, Fr., Green Bay, Wisc. (Ashwaubenon HS)
Green Bay Press-Gazette's first team all-conference and all-area honorable mention quarterback… led Ashwaubenon to the second round of the Wisconsin Class 2 state playoffs as a senior... named Fox River Classic Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2007 after passing for over 1,500 yards and rushing for over 800.


Rest of the Class
Darnell Bolding LB 6-2 215 So. Washington, D.C. (Bowie HS/Coffeyville C.C.)
Meco Brown RB 5-7 185 Fr. Moss Point, Miss. (Moss Point HS)Adam Coleman DT 6-3 259 Fr. Bettendorf, Iowa (Bettendorf HS
Maurice Coon DE 6-1 238 Fr. Lakeland, Fla. (George Jenkins HS
Kiaree Daniels DB 5-10 195 So. Kissimmee, Fla. (Osceola HS/Highland J.C.)
Tommy Davis ATH 5-11 180 Fr. East St. Louis, Ill. (Althoff Catholic HS)
Dan Edem TE 6-2 220 Fr. Apple Valley, Minn. (Eastview HS)
Brian Lawson DL 6-3 260 Fr. Park Forest, Ill. (Rich East HS)
Chase Mejia WR 5-8 170 Fr. Columbia, Mo. (Rock Bridge HS
Logan Pegram OL 6-3 298 Fr. Silver Lake, Kansas (Silver Lake HS)
Brandon Rogers QB 6-2 210 Fr. Broken Arrow, Okla. (Tulsa Union HS)
Kevin Sabock LB 6-2 203 Fr. Sycamore, Ill. (Sycamore HS)
Jody Van Laanen S 6-0 205 Fr. Green Bay, Wisc. (Ashwaubenon HS)

2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: Everything that could go wrong last year, did. The Huskies were better than their 2-10 record with a slew of injuries and inconsistency on offense leading the way to the awful season, and now new head coach Jerry Kill has a good group of veterans to build around, including all 11 starters on defense, to hope for an instant change. NIU lost five games by six points or fewer dropping them by a total of 17 points. It shouldn't take too much tweaking to win a few of those and be in the hunt for a winning season.
Why to be grouchy: Can the offense run the way Kill will want it to? There will be a bit of a transition period, and while there are a ton of returning veterans to hope for a night-and-day improvement, the team is starting from near zero after averaging just 210 yards and 19 points per game.
The number one thing to work on is: Figuring out the quarterback situation. Dan Nicholson didn't get the job done and wasn't healthy over the second half of the season. Ryan Morris wasn't the answer. Justin Anderson is a good-looking back, Britt Davis and Matt Simon are decent receivers, and the line should be fine. Now someone has to lead the way. The kickoff return game has to quickly improve after finishing last in the nation.
Biggest offensive loss: OT Chris Acevedo
Biggest defensive loss: SS Mark Reiter
Best returning offensive player: RB Justin Anderson, Jr.
Best returning defensive player: DE Larry English, Sr.

2007 Recap
Recap: The Huskies’ run of seven consecutive winning seasons ended with authority in 2007, as the program managed to win just two games in 12 tries.  While it was supposed to be a down year for the school, its decline was exacerbated by a spate of serious injuries that plagued both sides of the ball.  Head coach Joe Novak, the architect of Northern Illinois’ success this decade, won’t be on staff to turn things around, opting to retire from his post after a dozen up-and-down years in DeKalb.

Offensive Player of the Year:
RB Justin Anderson

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Larry English

Biggest Surprise: Anderson.  A backup to Montell Clanton at the beginning of the season, Anderson got his shot to shine out of necessity, rushing for 1,245 yards and eight touchdowns after Clanton went on the permanent shelf.  An All-MAC second-teamer, he went over 100 yards in eight of his first nine starts before getting hurt himself in the finale with Ball State.         

Biggest Disappointment: Just seven days after giving Iowa fits, the Huskies got dumped at home by Southern Illinois, 34-31.  Worse, Northern Illinois squandered a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter, allowing a pair of touchdown passes in the final minute of the game.  It was the Huskies’ first loss to the Salukis since 1979.

Looking Ahead:
After beating the Huskies in September, Southern Illinois head coach Jerry Kill will join them, taking over for Novak in 2008.  A success in his seven seasons with the Salukis, he knows the landscape well, and inherits a team that can only improve once it gets healthy.

  

Related Stories
NIU Football 2009 Recruiting Class Shaping Up
 -by HuskiePride.com  Feb 2, 2009
Scout 300 Shakeup
 -by FOXSportsRecruiting.com  Jan 15, 2009
Scouts Weigh in on the Top 25
 -by FOXSportsRecruiting.com  Jan 8, 2009








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