If you made it to the end of the Northern Illinois versus Wyoming opening weekend contest, then you deserve a medal to commemorate your fandom as well as a long nap. With kickoff not occurring until after midnight (eastern time) after a nearly two hour weather delay, the game wouldn’t be complete until well after 4am, but what happened over the course of that four hour affair was a back and forth contest that needed three overtimes to crown a winner, the Wyoming Cowboys by a 40-34 margin.
It’s fitting that after the long offseason, the football Gods gift perhaps their greatest game of the day for those who have the chutzpah to stick in there as the rest of the MAC wrapped up their Saturday celebration or commiseration and headed to bed to dream of future opportunities. For those who watched, they saw the kind of offense that NIU fans had hoped to see, but a defense that was overwhelmed by Wyoming’s ground attack. And they left Saturday tired, disappointed, and wondering if maybe this is the year that NIU’s strangle hold on the MAC comes to a close.
It wasn’t all bad for NIU. Offensively, some things to celebrate:
- Kenny Golloday had himself a day, to the tune of 82 rushing yards and a TD along with 144 receiving yards and two more TDs.
- Drew Hare looked completely recovered from last season’s injury woes. The senior was 24/39 for 329 yards and three scores.
But that’s where the celebration stops. Defensively, the Huskies have reason to be concerned about the 488 total yards and 243 yards on the ground. Wyoming’s lead running back went for 125 yards and two scores on 33 carries, and QB Josh Allen had 70. Wyoming isn’t a team that should be running roughshod over the gold standard of the Mid-American Conference.
Northern Illinois certainly had their chances to win, though. A Drew Hare fumbled snap on the 2-yard line in the first overtime period could have proven significantly more costly than it did, but the NIU defense held firm and Wyoming missed their field goal attempt for the win. The second overtime saw both teams throw a TD on the board, and a missed field goal in NIU’s portion of the third OT allowed Wyoming’s Josh Allen to do this....
It was one of the most MACtion endings to a game that I’ve ever seen. Think Wyoming is interested in switching conferences?