For the second time this year a double-digit fourth quarter comeback comes up a missed extra-point short. Buffalo fell ro Northern Illinois 31-30 after being down 21 points against one of the MAC's strongest teams. It looked like they forced overtime with 14 seconds to play as Chazz Anderson connected with Ed Young for a touchdown, but Peter Fardon's PAT missed wide left. No doubt echoes of Scott Norwood rang throughout UB Stadium. This is just a tough way to lose. And let's remember: this would've forced a tie, not a win. So this is more like a John Carney situation.
It's reminiscent of when Bowling Green lost to Wyoming 28-27. That particular extra point was a low line drive that Wyoming was able to easily block. This one was a straight miss. It wasn't why they lost, but it's the awful taste that the team and the fans had to swallow as the clock expired.
The Bulls showed a ton of fight down the stretch — the kind that was able to upend OHIO, stay close at Ball State and not get embarrassed by UConn — and Northern Illinois again goes back to their question-mark defense as they allowed 572 total yards, including 404 through the air.
The Chazzman sparked that comeback by virtue of throwing three touchdowns, running back Branden Oliver did his work (28 carries, 112 yards) and linebacker Khalil Mack (two TFLs) contributed as usual. NIU was erratic all day: they had four dominant touchdown drives but also suffered seven three-and-outs. Their total yardage was pretty dismal for having 31 points but running back Jasmin Hopkins did a ton of damage on the goalline with three touchdowns. Also their defense accumulated five turnovers.
Let's focus on that instead. Look at the score, then look at the turnover game. NIU didn't have any, Buffalo had five. If you're going to zero in on any one play, you can blame Fardon as much as you could blame Anderson for his three turnovers (although one was a desperation throw at the end of the first half).
So NIU survives and advances. They remain at 3-1 and a game behind Toledo, which is a deficit they can control if they beat them later this month. As for UB, it looks like another losing season in the Jeff Quinn era as they fall to 2-6.