For the Northern Illinois Huskies, the incredibly difficult non-conference schedule is almost over...just one more game against BYU remains. But the Huskies faced a struggling Florida State Seminole team and had multiple chances to win/score and, instead, wound up losing 37-19. So what did we learn?
1. NIU’s offense is near unwatchable
Kudos to the offense in at least trying to mix it up a bit this week as they threw the ball 41 times and only ran it 20 times, which is a big departure from the usual play calling. The Huskies got so far away from their run game that they only managed to net SIX rushing yards on the day.
Not that things got much better in the second half but the first half was really ugly. Of NIU’s six possessions in the first 30 minutes, just one lasted more than three plays...an eight play drive that ended in a punt.
NIU’s defense did all they could to help them out by forcing four turnovers...but, even with great field position, the Huskies offense couldn’t do anything.
2. Childers is very unreliable...but so are the receivers
Childers attempted 41 passes against Florida State, the second most in his career (he had 43 against Toledo last year), and was able to connect just 20 times for 215 yards. Many of his passes were over the receivers’ head or incredibly under-thrown,into the dirt in front of them.
But, despite that, it’s not all his fault. NIU could have pulled within three points had Jauan Wesley not stepped out of bounds on a would-be-TD grab and multiple receivers dropped passes that should have been caught, leading to NIU punts.
Since Kenny Golladay graduated to the NFL, there has been no real threat to catch passes for the Huskies and we’ve all seen how poorly NIU’s aerial attack has been the past two seasons.
A lack of solid receivers + an unreliable QB = virtually no offense.
3. The defense played well...and yet they didn’t
When you see the score 37-19 and see that an anemic FSU offense amassed 473 yards, it doesn’t look like the D did very well at all. But they kept the Huskies in it for 50 minutes before they just ran out of steam.
The Huskie D forced four turnovers and gave the offense the ball inside the 35-yard line twice. And, had they not, the game would have been so much uglier.
Of NIU’s 19 points most (14) came from turnovers and that SHOULD have been higher as the Huskies had a golden opportunity to pull within one in the fourth quarter but had a TD called back and then botched a field goal attempt.
But, NIU also got torched for nearly 500 yards (473)...mostly through the air. The Huskie secondary allowed 352 passing yards and played soft coverage for most of the game, allowing the ‘Noles to move the ball very easily down field.
So, while the defense did give up a LOT of yards, they also kept NIU close for most of the game. It’s hard to be mad at them when they did all they could to help this offense out.
4. Let’s stop kicking altogether
The Huskies missed what should have been a pretty easy kick in the fourth quarter (that would have made it a 7-point game) and, on the season, kicker Andrew Gantz is now three for six kicking.
But over the past few weeks it’s not just that the kicker misses or the punts are short...instead, the new issue is the long snapper. Against Florida State the Huskies had yet another bad snap on special teams, this time on an extra point attempt.
In the past few games NIU has now had three bad snaps on routine special teams plays. They need to figure out a way to get the ball to the kicker/punter with out any issues...this offense is already bad enough already.
5. New coaching is needed...at least on one side of the ball
Every NIU fan, myself included, has called for Rod Carey’s head at least five times the past two season (probably more). And I still think he needs to go. But so does Offensive Coordinator Mike Uremovich.
Since taking the OC job back in 2016, the Huskie offense has fallen flat the past three years and has shown no improvement...in fact it’s gotten much, much worse.
Offensive stats under Uremovich:
NIU offensive stats 2016-Present
|NIU Offensive Stats:||2016||2017||2018|
|NIU Offensive Stats:||2016||2017||2018|
The offense has basically been cut in half under Uremovich...especially in points and rushing yards. And lets not forget that last season more than 10% of NIU’s touchdowns came from the defense (5 of NIU’s 48 TDs were defensive)!! That means the offense actually only scored 26.2 points per game!!
A change is certainly needed.