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Back to earth: Football looks to relaunch after Homecoming loss

October 15, 2014
Rod Carey

Rod Carey

When last weekend’s Homecoming football game ended with a 34-17 thud, it wasn’t the pair of broken win streaks that upset Coach Rod Carey.

Rather, it was the disappointing play of his team.

“Give Central Michigan a ton of credit. Every time we fought back in, or had a little momentum, they made a play and kind of thwarted any momentum we had,” Carey said.

“I think there’s always frustration when you lose. When you lose and you look at it, there’s always going to be frustration no matter what it is,” he added. “You can’t let that frustration paralyze you; you have to go ahead, take it one step at a time and fix it.”

That chance comes at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, when 1-6 Miami (Ohio) comes to Huskie Stadium. All students are admitted FREE with their NIU One Cards.

Saturday’s showdown is the first between NIU and the RedHawks since the 2010 Mid-American Conference championship game in Detroit, a game that went the wrong way for Huskie fans.

Fear not, however: Carey’s players understand the need to move on from a home defeat that hurts. Meanwhile, since 2010, NIU is 8-2 in games following a loss.

“We just try to pick everyone up and move on to our next game. We just got to put it behind us and have the 1-0 mentality this week and go back to work and make sure we prepare harder this week than we ever have,” offensive lineman Tyler Loos said.

Boomer Mays

Boomer Mays

“There is not really any extra motivation. Obviously, after a tough home loss, we want to come back and show how we can play. There were sparks of it in the game, but we have to play more consistent, make sure everybody is on the same page and play better.”

Linebacker Boomer Mays said the 4-2 Huskies are “focusing on fundamentals” in practice.

“Everyone is stepping up,” Mays said. “Nobody likes losing, obviously, but you just learn from the mistakes and learn from the film and then take it to the next week. We just have to keep moving along.”

Despite Miami’s record – the team’s lone victory this season already tops last year’s 0-12 tally – Carey is not discounting the RedHawks.

RedHawks coach Chuck Martin has his squad “playing hard and believing,” Carey said.

Quarterback Andrew Hendrix has “a cannon for an arm,” moves well and hurts opponents with his footwork, Carey said. Wide receiver David Frazier is a skilled target for Hendrix, who likes to throw it deep.

NIU’s boss also points to challenges posed by Miami’s man-to-man coverage, strong secondary and all-conference linebacker Kent Kern.

As a team, Carey said, Miami is “in every game. They’re right there – probably a difference of about six or seven plays a game from the outcome being what they want it to be. They’re an aggressive defense and they have that new quarterback in there and that new tight end on offense. They’re throwing it around the yard and doing a nice job of it.

“They’re a good football team,” he added. “They’re coming into our house, and we need to go ahead and get back on track.”

Drew Hare and Juwan Brescacin

Drew Hare and Juwan Brescacin

So are the Huskies ready to snuff their recurring problems and reclaim their turf?

Yes, Carey said.

“We as coaches live in the ‘We must improve. It’s never good enough’ world. You celebrate it when you win, but you want to continue to always improve,” he said. “I guess you can be a conspiracy theorist and say the world is going to end tomorrow and live in your basement. I don’t think that way. We are always trying to get better. I don’t have a fear of the unknown because, in football, all you have to do is turn on the film.”

Or, in Carey’s case, take a look around the locker room.

“I think the guys have a strong resolve,” he said. “I really like this team and how they go about it. I know they’re upset. I don’t think there is anyone in this building who isn’t. That’s a good thing.”

Fans who can’t make it Saturday can watch the #MACtion on ESPN3 or listen to the play-by-play on AM 560 WIND from Chicago or WCPT 92.5 FM from DeKalb.

For more information on NIU football and Huskie athletics, visit