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2015 Northern Illinois 'Huskie Bowl' spring football game recap: Defense dominates, offense has a new toy

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The offenses of both squads had trouble finding their rhythm while the defenses took control. But North Dakota transfer Kenny Golladay looks impressive at wide receiver.

The third annual Huskie Bowl was held this Saturday at Huskie Stadium in Dekalb. The game pitted a split NIU squad squaring off against each other in a scrimmage format.

The Huskie's were divided up by a coaches draft resulting in the Cardinal squad and the Black squad. The game is played by giving each squad seven alternating possessions beginning at their own 25 yard line. There is no punting, only a score or a turn over on downs.  Two extra possessions were given this year giving each squad a total of nine.

In a sluggish offensive performance by both sides, the Black squad defeated the Cardinal squad 21-0. The Black squad was lead by quarterbacks Drew Hare and Anthony Maddie. The Cardinal squad was lead by quarterbacks Matt McIntosh and Ryan Graham.

The Black squad got on the board early with 35 yard interception return for a touchdown by sophomore cornerback Shawun Lurry off of Cardinal quarterback Ryan Graham:

The Black team padded it's lead as junior running back Draco Smith scored on a 16 yard touchdown run. The game's final score came on the last possession as the Black squad's Anthony Maddie hit sophomore wide receiver Christian Blake for a 15 yard touchdown pass.

We don't really expect to learn too much from any exhibition game in early spring.   Saturday's Huskie Bowl just showed how much continuity and practice is needed for an offense to really get in sync and be effective.

While the defense, especially the defensive line, dominated play, that line will remain one of the question marks as we head into the season.  The linebackers, as expected, played very well and should be the strength of the defense. I think junior Sean Folliard will have a break out season.

With three new starters, the Offensive line will get plenty of time this fall to get rolling and I fully expect the offense to be the team's strength. With Hare going into this season with a year of more experience and the anointed number one QB, the offense is loaded at the skill positions.  Especially with the addition of University of North Dakota wide receiver Kenny Golladay.

While you can't get too excited about a team's performance during an exhibition game, you can get a little excited about a player. Not necessarily an individuals success, but how he looks. Kenny Golladay passes the eye test.

At 6'4" he easily stands out physically. But he moves very fluidly and just looks every bit the part of a number one wide receiver:

Another player who had a very nice day was junior wide receiver Argeros Turner.  He led all wide receivers with  7 catches for 61 yards.   Turner was second on the team last season with 37 catches and will be competing in a crowded and talented receiving corp for touches:

Also fighting for playing time will be wr Chad Beebe.  Beebe is coming off of a broken forearm he suffered in the MAC championship game last season.  It was good to see him out competing and looking healthy again:

But the day belonged to the defense.  Namely the Black squad's defense.  Even when the Cardinal squad managed a good play, the Black squad was their to take control back:

More video of the 2015 Huskie bowl can be viewed here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEVLozBHMfY

On a perfect spring day it was great to hear the sounds of pads cracking and be back in Huskie Stadium.  It was a well run event even if it didn't have all the bells and whistles of a real game day.   Just remember for next year, you may want to make sure you BYOB, as well as BYOGC.