It was a shaky start for both Central Michigan (0-2) and NIU (0-2) in DeKalb, Illinois, on Wednesday night, as the chilly temperatures seemed to affect both teams in the early going.
At one point, the teams were a combined 1-of-16 on third-down conversions and, at halftime, there were more total punts (10) than total points (9). But ultimately, a football game is 60 minutes long, and the Chippewas would emerge as an easy victor, taking home the 40-10 road win.
The Chippewas started the game off with a bang, as Daniel Richardson connected with Northern Michigan transfer Dallas Dixon on a 58-yard touchdown pass on just the second play of the game before the Huskie defense tightened up and held the Chips from scoring on offense again in the first half.
In fact, Central had 74 yards on their first drive but only managed 60 yards the rest of the half.
However, NIU would end up helping the Chippewas out by extending their lead to nine points when Huskie punter Matt Ference couldn’t corral a low snap and the Huskies had to punch the ball out of the endzone, resulting in a safety.
The Huskies offense once again couldn’t get anything going and struggled with fumbles, turnovers, and backwards plays. NIU had just 19 rushing yards on 19 carries in the first half and it didn’t get much better in the second half, finishing the game with 74 yards on 33 carries.
Central Michigan started the second half at their own 6-yard line but had no problem driving the 94 yards and pushing the lead up to 16-0. The Huskies then fumbled on the ensuing kickoff return which led to a CMU field goal.
Two plays later, the Huskies would fumble AGAIN but were able to keep the Chippewas from scoring.
However, CMU halfback Lew Nichols III would go off late in the third quarter and score twice in just two and a half minutes of game time; first on a 58-yard screen pass and then on a 38-yard touchdown run, which pushed the score up to 33-0.
NIU would get their first points of the game on a 45-yard field goal by John Richardson with 8:43 to go in the “contest”.
Central wasn’t finished though, as they drove 53 yards on five plays, capped off by a 10-yard TD run by quarterback Ty Brock, to take a 40-3 lead with just over five minutes to go.
The Huskies were able to score their only touchdown of the game on their final drive, when third-string QB Andrew Haidet connected with Dennis Robinson on a 31-yard pass with just 11 seconds to go.
Next week the Huskies will travel to Muncie to take on the Ball State Cardinals while the Chippewas will head home to take on Western Michigan.