NIU racked up 577 yards of total offense and forced five turnovers in the big win while the Falcons only managed 25 minutes of possession and 367 yards.
So what did we take away from the game?
1. Bowling Green’s ground game has gotten a lot better
Andrew Clair has shown these last few weeks that, just because he’s a freshman, it doesn’t mean he can’t play at a very high level. Against the Huskies he was able to get 108 yards on 15 rushes...that number could have been higher as a 35-yard scamper was erased when he was called for an offensive face-mask penalty.
In the past three weeks Clair has gotten a lot of touches and not squandered any of them. He has rushed for 100+ yards in three straight games (121, 148, and 108), averaged 7.7 yards per carry, and scored twice. Those are big time numbers!
2. BG could also have a quarterback competition
The Falcons started the day with their backup QB in but finished the game with their third stringer playing...and not because of injury. Mike Jinks pulled starter James Morgan midway through the second quarter for Grant Loy...and both played pretty well actually...
Morgan was 7/12 with 71 yards, and a touchdown. He did make some mistakes, throwing two interceptions, which led to Loy playing. But he was finding receivers and moved the ball pretty well.
Loy also did well, going 6/11 for 104 yards but threw an interception of his own. He also added 29 yards and a TD running the ball.
It’ll be interesting to see who Jinks goes with next week or if it will be a combination of the two of them.
3. Sutton Smith can be slowed down but not stopped
Sutton Smith came in to the game as the nations leader in tackles for a loss and sacks. He caused a lot of chaos and added a ton of pressure on the BG passing game...but he didn’t quite have the same stats that we’ve become accustomed to over the past two months.
Smith finished the game with just four tackles but had another TFL and scored a touchdown on a “fumble” he forced and recovered, when he straight up stole the ball from Clair.
4. NIU has a ton of options at halfback
Jordan Huff came in to the season getting all the attention. But, after a few down performances and some lingering injuries, he didn’t even make the trip to BG. That didn’t slow down NIU’s run game at all!
The Huskies ran for 338 yards yesterday and five players had at least five carries and 35 yards or more. The committee of Tommy Mister, Tre Harbison, Marcus Jones, and Dwayne Milton looked real good yesterday finding holes and getting extra yardage.
Huff is still the leader but NIU showed they are more than just him in the backfield.
5. The Huskies have found another great dual-threat QB
Marcus Childers has been starting the past three weeks and NIU’s offense hasn’t looked this good since Jordan Lynch left. There’s still a lot of work to be done but Childers continued to show he can be the starter for years to come.
Since taking over, NIU is 3-0 and averaging 428 yards of offense per game. Childers has made great decisions, only throwing one interception to his seven touchdowns. His accuracy deep down field has been spotty this season as most throws over 20-yards have been well over thrown but, overall, this is a guy that will develop and grow over the next three seasons. He is only a freshman! So NIU could be set for a little while.