43°FFairFull Forecast
Pro Football Weekly Updated Draft Guide

College football notebook: Huskies picking up the tough yards

Published: Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 11:23 p.m. CDT
(Rob Winner Shaw Media)
Northern Illinois wide receiver Martel Moore (1) powers past two Buffalo defenders for a 43-yard touchdown reception during the third quarter of the Huskies' 45-3 victory Saturday in DeKalb.

DeKALB – During practice last week, Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren would put the ball on the 1-yard line. He would tell his players “Fourth-and-1” and challenge his team to pick it up, yelling and screaming at his offense.

Simply put, NIU’s second-year head coach thinks his team is strong enough to convert on those short-yardage situations. It picked up the yards during practice, and did the same during Saturday’s 45-3 win over Buffalo.

Doeren trusted his team on fourth down early, and all four of the Huskies’ first-half fourth down tries were converted rather easily. NIU was 4-for-5 on fourth down on the afternoon.

On the Huskies’ first drive, NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch picked up 7 yards on a fourth-and-1 from the Buffalo 21.

The drive ended on a Da’Ron Brown 12-yard touchdown run.

Facing a 4th-and-goal from the Bulls’ 1-yard line in the second quarter, Lynch handed the ball to Akeem Daniels, who went to his right and ran into the end zone. Just one drive later, Lynch scored a 4-yard touchdown when Doeren decided to go for it on 4th-and-2.

“It’s only a yard. Sometimes a yard can be a long way,” Lynch said. “All we need is just to make contact [with the defensive line], just stand them up, strain we call it. If I find a little crease I’ll get it.”

The Huskies also converted a fake punt for the second time this season, when Luke Eakes took a direct snap and ran 32 yards when NIU faced a 4th-and-7 from its own 40 during the second quarter.

Stingy statement: On Saturday, NIU’s defense held a team to no touchdowns for the first time since 2010.

Bowl-eligible: With Saturday’s win NIU became bowl-eligible by garnering its sixth victory of the season. It’s the fifth consecutive year the Huskies have been eligible for a bowl game.

“We talked a lot about what a win today would mean,” Doeren said. “It means that we’re bowl-eligible. It doesn’t mean that we’re in a bowl yet, but we’re eligible for a bowl, all of us want to go to one.

Moore joins elite club: NIU senior receiver Martel Moore caught eight passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in the victory. With the performance, Moore eclipsed 2,000 yards for his career, becoming the fifth receiver in school history to reach the mark. His eight catches tied a career-high.

“Martel played like a senior today,” Doeren said. “The window’s closing, we’re going to miss the dude. ... I just love when the seniors play their best. I think that’s a testament to your coaching and to the development of your program.”

More milestones: With the victory, the Huskies also got their 19th consecutive win at Huskie Stadium, and won their 11th consecutive contest in the Mid-American Conference, the current longest streak in the league.

NIU’s senior class (2009-12) also tied the mark for most wins by any class in school history with 35 victories.

Get breaking news sent to your phone. Sign up for text alerts from Sauk Valley Media!

More News

National video

Reader Poll

Do you agree with President Trump ordering a missile attack against Syria in the aftermath of Syria’s apparent use of chemical weapons against its own people?
Not sure
No opinion