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Third Quarter Update: Northern Illinois Breaks It Open, Knapke Pulled

After a first half that seemed to be controlled by Northern Illinois but left Bowling Green still in the contest, the Huskies started to capitalize on the advantage and put the Falcons away.

Northern Illinois got straight to work after the opening kick of the second half, driving 68 yards for another touchdown, this time a 4-yard Hare pass to Juwan Brescacin in the back of the end zone. Hagan's point-after made it 27-10 Huskies at the 11:18 mark of the third quarter.

The Huskies defense helped the cause by holding the ensuing Bowling Green possession to a three-and-out, and the NIU ground game finally got going on the next drive.

Cameron Stingily, who was held to just 20 first-half rushing yards, busted out a 42-yard run to the Bowling Green two-yard line, then he punched it in for a score two plays later to put the Huskies ahead 34-10 with 8:18 left in the third frame.

The Falcons offense showed its first sign of life of the half with a drive to the NIU 36, but a failed fourth-down conversion attempt gave the Huskies good field position and another chance to build on the lead.

A 31-yard tightrope-walking sideline catch by Brescacin brought the Huskies into the red zone once more, but they stalled at the BG 6 and settled for a Hagan's third field goal of the game to go ahead 37-10 at 4:15.

On the following possession, Bowling Green head coach Dino Babers pulled quarterback James Knapke from the contest, opting to give Cody Callaway a shot, but the freshman could muster only one first down before another Falcons punt.

NIU punted on the next drive, but Callaway gave the Huskies the ball right back with a poorly-thrown deep ball that was picked off by Dechane Durante for his MAC Championship-record second interception of the game. Hare returned the favor on the next play with a long throw pulled down by Bowling Green freshman Clinton Stephens.

Bowling Green will enter the fourth quarter down 37-10 with a fourth-and-seven at the NIU 48.