After a scoreless first half, backup quarterback Drew Hare threw two touchdowns to Da’Ron Brown and ran for another score in leading Northern Illinois University to a 23-15 win over Northwestern Saturday afternoon in Evanston, giving the Huskies their first-ever win over the Wildcats.
Hare completed six of 10 passes for 109 yards through the air and carried 11 times for 31 yards in the win. The Huskies rushed for 224 yards, led by Akeem Daniels’ 81 yard performance on 16 carries. Cameron Stingily added 46 yards on six carries.
“I’m so happy for these guys and this group of seniors,” said NIU Head Coach Rod Carey following the win. “I’m so proud of them I can barely stand it. Are we a finished product? No. We’ve got a lot to clean up, but we made enough key plays at key moments to get this win.”
Hare started the second half and promptly directed the Huskies on a 10 play, 60 yard drive. Tyler Wedel kicked a 32 yard field goal to give NIU a 3-0 lead, but Northwestern answered with a four play, 60 yard touchdown drive to make the score 7-3 with 4:51 in the third.
NIU took a 10-7 lead with 52 seconds left in the third quarter, capping an 82 yard drive spanning 13 plays with an 18 yard touchdown pass from Hare to Brown, who finished the game with six catches for 128 yards. Running back Cameron Stingily keyed the drive with a 17 yard fourth down run to the Wildcat 19.
The NIU defense came up big when it stopped Northwestern on fourth down at its own 30 yard line to halt a drive, and the Huskies drove 72 yards in five plays as Hare hit Brown for a 59 yard touchdown. The Huskies failed to convert the point after touchdown, making the score 16-7 with seven minutes to play.
Following a stalled Northwestern drive, Dan Beebe returned a punt 36 yards to the Northwestern 22 to set up another NIU score, a four yard run by Hare.
The Wildcats breathed new life following a roughing the passer call in which it appeared the Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian fumbled and was knocked out of the game. A couple plays later, the Wildcats scored and converted the two point conversion to make the score 23-15.
An onside kick attempt was recovered by Brown, and NIU ran out the clock.
Redshirt sophomore Anthony Maddie relieved starter Matt McIntosh (4-9, 35 yards) late in the first half and completed three of four passes for 36 yards and ran for 20 yards on four carries in leading NIU on a 14-play, 72-yard drive late in the first half before kicker Tyler Wedel missed a 25 yard field goal.
With the win, NIU improved to 2-0 on the season and has won 25 consecutive regular season games. The Huskies lead the nation with 16 consecutive wins in true road games dating back to Oct. 1, 2011. NIU is now 5-3 versus Big Ten teams since 2009.
For more information on NIU football and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.