It was the Joel Bouagnon show on Tuesday night. The senior running back entered the contest with one touchdown, but his career-high five scores boosted the Northern Illinois Huskies (3-6) over the Bowling Green Falcons (1-8), 45-20 in DeKalb.
Bouagnon was a workhorse, punching the ball into the end zone from up-close throughout the night. Although none of Bouagnon's five touchdowns were longer than 16 yards, he constantly tested the Bowling Green defense to drive the Huskies down the field. On the night, he contributed 134 yards, the second-best mark of his season, in the 25-point victory.
The only other Huskie to score was Anthony Maddie (94 yards rushing), who kept the ball on the option for a power run into the endzone in the second quarter that pretty much placed NIU in the driver's seat at 24-13. Bowling Green never managed to keep the score within single-digits after that Maddie score with seven minutes to go in the first half.
Bowling Green began the game with control on offense, maneuvering down the field on a 12-play, 75-yard drive. To tie the score at seven apiece, quarterback James Morgan found a cutting Scott Miller in the middle of the end zone. It was the first of three Morgan passing touchdowns. His second occurred on a spectacular catch by senior Ronnie Moore in the second quarter. Moore overcame defensive pass interference to catch a 37-yard touchdown, to close the gap to 17-13.
However, the extra point was blocked. NIU defensive tackle William Lee blocked the PAT to suppress Bowling Green’s momentum. On the Falcons’ ensuing possession, Jake Suder’s 49-yard attempt was once again blocked. This time, the Huskies’ sophomore defensive end, Josh Corcoran halted the ball from traveling past the line of scrimmage.
Special teams continued to haunt Bowling Green. In a play that ultimately decided the game’s outcome, the Falcons attempted an ill-advised fake punt from their own 21-yard line. The decision immediately backfired when Northern Illinois defenders rushed punter Joe Davidson in the backfield. Davidson decided to throw the ball, which was picked off by Northern Illinois—one of two interceptions thrown by the Falcons in the loss.
Four plays later, Bouagnon was in the end zone again.
The Northern Illinois offense has now scored 89 points in two games, continuing to improve upon the 0-4 start. Maddie and Bouagnon face Toledo in DeKalb next Wednesday night—a game which has large implications regarding the Huskies’ bowl hopes.
Bowling Green continues the slide, dropping seven in a row. The Falcons beat the Huskies in the MAC Championship last season, but have yet to defeat an FBS opponent since.