Northern Illinois had a different picture in their minds as to how homecoming would go...but the Huskies survived a close game with Akron, 27-20. NIU's victory marks the 23rd straight win at home and the 18th straight conference win for the Huskies (both the longest in the nation), while it marks the 30th consecutive road loss for Akron (also the longest streak in the NCAA). Akron played the Huskies close all game, never trailing by more than 10. It came down to a fourth and ten with 47 seconds remaining right around midfield. Kyle Pohl's pass to L.T. Smith sailed long and just out of reach, preserving the victory for NIU.
Akron's defense held the explosive Huskie offense to just 397 yards, a season low, while the Zips offense netted 389 yards against the porous NIU defense. Akron could have pulled off the upset but penalties plagued them all night, having 12 flags for 102 yards. Pohl finished 24-57 with 262 yards with a TD and a pick. Running back Jawon Chisholm had 21 carries for 72 yards and two TDs. Akron's special teams also had two blocked field goals to keep it close.
The NIU offense was shut down today, as Jordan Lynch went a mere 16-35 for 220 yards, with 85 rushing yards on 14 carries. Cameron Stingily added 78 yards on 21 rushes. And the Huskie defense added 3 more sacks and another pick by Jimmie Ward - his fifth this season.
Everyone in DeKalb can now take a sigh of relieve after surviving this game...but up next for the Huskies is Central Michigan...the last MAC school to beat NIU.