Northern Illinois University quarterback Drew Hare (O’Fallon, Mo./Fort Zumwalt West HS) and kicker Tyler Wedel (McFarland, Wis./McFarland HS) are the latest Huskies to earn Mid-American Conference Player of the Week honors as the league announced its Week 3 award winners Monday.
Hare was named the Co-MAC West Offensive Player of the Week while Wedel was the Specialist of the Week after helping lead NIU to a 48-34 victory over UNLV in Las Vegas Saturday.
In his first game as the Huskies’ starting quarterback, Hare completed 18-of-28 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns without an interception, and added 74 rushing yards on 14 carries and a score. The sophomore totaled 359 yards of total offense on 42 plays for an average of 8.5 yards per play.
After UNLV came back from a 23-point deficit to tie the score at 34 in the fourth quarter, Hare hit Da’Ron Brown with a 54-yard touchdown pass to give the Huskies a 41-34 lead. When the Huskies got the ball back with 5:22 to play, he directed a 10-play, 80-yard game-clinching drive to provide the final margin of victory.
Wedel, who handled both place kicking and punting chores in the win, hit a pair of important field goals in the second half and made all of his place kicks on the day to account for 12 points. He nailed a career-long 45-yard field goal in the middle of UNLV’s comeback in the third quarter to extend the Huskies’ lead back to 19 points. After UNLV pulled to within five points at the end of the quarter, Wedel completed the Huskies’ first drive of the fourth period with a 33-yard three to extend the lead to 34-26. He also made all six of his PATs and averaged 36 yards on a pair of punts.
Hare and Wedel join linebacker Rasheen Lemon (Defensive POTW vs. Northwestern) as MAC West Player of the Week recipients so far this year. A year ago, five different NIU players were honored as MAC Players of the Week 14 times.
The Huskies (3-0) travel Saturday, Sept. 20, to Fayetteville, Ark., to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks (2-1). Kickoff is at 6 p.m. (CT) from Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.