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2021 Mid-American Conference Football Week 3 Game Recap: Michigan 63, Northern Illinois 10

The Huskies never had in a chance in a blowout at the Big House.

NCAA Football: Northern Illinois at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

For as optimistic as the NIU faithful have been given the recent offensive output of their beloved Huskies, there was never any real serious threat from the young pups in what was an absolute drubbing in Ann Arbor. Michigan (3-0) went 9-of-9 on their first nine possessions, and kept NIU (1-2) to a paltry 1-of-13 on third down conversions in a 63-10 route of the visiting Huskies side on Saturday afternoon.

NIU possessed the ball first, but was unable to produce any offense, going three-and-out immediately. Michigan would find the endzone just two minutes later, with QB Cade McNamara sneaking in for a one-yard score to end a seven-play, 75 yard drive.

NIU would respond on the next drive by spending nine plays and 4:55 of game time to get down to the Michigan 3 after a 72-yard sustained drive, before stalling out and settling for the 21-yard field goal by John Richardson instead.

Michigan made the Huskies pay for not risking the touchdown, finishing a nine-play, 75-yard drive the other way over 4:55 with a one-yard score for Blake Corum—the first of three scores for the Wolverine back— to push the score to 14-3 Michigan.

NIU went backwards immediately on the next possession, going three-and-out with three lost yards, punting it away back to Michigan, who would score on a one-yard run for Hassan Haskins after a six-play, 64-yard drive.

This would more or less be the pattern for the entire first half and well into the second half, with NIU re-taking possession, punting it back to Michigan, and the Wolverines marching down the field for six points every time. Michigan went on a six-touchdown spree after the first Haskins score, with four different Wolverines getting on the box score, including Haskins (another five-yard rushing score), Corum and Donovan Edwards (two touchdowns.)

NIU did manage to find their way into two turnovers-on-down well after the game had been decided, and got a late touchdown courtesy of a Rocky Lombardi toss to Cole Tucker to bring the score to its final tally with 8:28 remaining.

Rocky Lombardi, the Michigan State transfer, was NIU’s leading passer and rusher on the day, finishing 9-of-17 for 46 yards and touchdown through the air and having seven carries for 72 yards on the ground. Tristen Tewes’ 15-yard reception put him up top the receiving table for NIU.

Defensively, Lance Deveraux led NIU’s defense with eight tackles on the day, with three other Huskies tied for second with six tackles apiece (Jordan Hansen, Jordan Gancy and Daveran Rayner.) Makhi Nelson-Douglas and Dillon Thomas each registered a tackle-for-loss, while Gandy had NIU’s lone pass breakup.

NIU gave up 606 yards of total offense to the Wolverines, and nine touchdowns, with eight of the nine touchdowns and 373 of the total yards collected on the ground. The one passing touchdown was an 87-yard strike from Cade McNamara to Cornelius Johnson before the end of the first half.

The Huskies will look to regroup before a clash with the Maine Black Bears on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time.