Well, the Northern Illinois Huskies were supposed to win - and they didn't disappoint. The Presbyterian Blue Hose became the 27 straight team to lose at Huskie Stadium, as the Huskies routed them 55-3.
The Huskies have always been a running team - and tonight was no different. Eleven different players carried the ball for NIU, amassing a whopping 424 yards on 77 carries (5.5 yards/carry) and scoring five times. Akeem Daniels, in his first game back, looked good, rushing for 118 yards on 15 carries. But it was Joel Bouagnon that was the player of the game. He scored four of the five rushing touchdowns and had 97 yards on 16 carries.
And we finally saw who the NIU's quarterback is going to be...probably. Matt McIntosh walked out for the first drive, and he didn't disappoint. McIntosh was 10-14 going for 87 yards and score - a nice 39-yard touchdown strike to Da'Ron Brown to open the scoring. He also added four carries for 27 yards. McIntosh wasn't the only quarterback to play however, as Drew Hare played most of the second and third quarters and Anthony Maddie playing the final 25 minutes or so.
Hare looked shaky at first, but recovered to finish as the game's leading passer, with 100 yards on 8 of 13 passing. He was also one of NIU's better runners, gaining 51 yards on the ground on just five carries. Hare connected with Juwan Brescacin for his only score - a 49-yard touchdown pass - just 90 seconds into the third quarter. Maddie played most of the second half, and he struggled throwing the ball - going just 1-4 for 24 yards - but ran the ball pretty well (nine carries for 51 yards).
But if there was a question going into the game, it was NIU's defense. And did they ever show up. The Huskies held the Blue Hose to just 126 yards of total offense - 58 passing and 69 rushing. They forced three turnovers (two fumbles and a pick), had three sacks, and didn't allow Presbyterian to score for the first 44 minutes. They completely shut down Presbyterian's two best receivers - Tobi Antigha and Jeremiah McKie. The duo (which had over 1,900 yards last year) managed 4 catches for just 13 yards, including a lost fumble from Antigha.
If there was a dark spot for NIU, it would once again be the kicking game. NIU missed two field goal attempts, one from 21-yards and one from 31-yards, both relatively easy kicks.
All in all, it was a great start to the 2014 campaign for the Huskies. The QB competition between McIntosh and Hare may still not be over, as both did very well. We'll just have to wait nine days to see who'll get the start in Evanston.
The Huskies will now start a three game road trip, returning to action next Saturday when they take on the Northwestern Wildcats.