Northern Illinois running back Antario Brown absolutely dominated Week 6.
In a 55-14 thrashing of Akron on the road, Brown accumulated 280 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns on 13 carries, averaging an impressive 21.5 per attempt. His 280 rushing yards tied the season-high by any FBS player, matching Kentucky running back Ray Davis who generated that output against Florida in Week 5.
He was named MAC West Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
Brown’s 280 yards checked in as the 11th greatest single game rushing performance in Northern Illinois history with programs great Garrett Wolfe, LeShon Johnson, Jordan Lynch, Stacey Robinson, and Michael Turner accounting for all 10 spots above. It was the most rushing yards by a Huskie since Lynch shattered the single-game quarterback rushing record (which has since been broken) on Nov. 26, 2013 with 326 yards. Brown’s four rushing touchdowns also were tied for 11th all-time in the Huskies’ record books.
His spectacular performance was defined by explosive breakaway runs. All four of Brown’s rushing touchdowns exceeded 45 yards. The touchdown barrage launched in the early second quarter when he housed a 66-yard run down the right sideline. He favored that right sideline again toward the end of the period when he struck again on a 58-yard scamper out of the wildcat formation.
In the early third quarter, Brown lined up in wildcat once again and raced 46 yards to the house for nearly an identical touchdown. Then roughly three minutes of action later, Brown fielded a handoff to the left side but broke a tackle and reversed field to the right, sprinting down the right sideline for the fourth time on the afternoon — this time, scoring from 50 yards out to rewrite the score to 48-7.
Brown checked out of the contest by the 9:07 mark of the third quarter with 280 rushing yards to his name, allowing backup Gavin Williams take the majority of reps for the remainder of the decisive victory. Yes, that monstrous stat-line was completely finalized before the midway point of the third quarter.
Surprisingly, Brown did not win the Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week. That honor was awarded to Florida State’s Trey Benson, who racked up 200 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries against Virginia Tech. He is the first MAC player to claim the honor since Eastern Michigan running back Samson Evans totaled 258 rushing yards on Arizona State in Week 3 of the 2022 season.
After a career performance, Brown currently ranks 13th in the FBS and second in the MAC with 616 rushing yards in 2023.