NIU charges ahead in fourth quarter to stay undefeated

By Arthur Hayden

Looking at the final score alone, one might conclude that Northern Illinois blew out their Mid-American Conference rivals, Ball State.

Marcus Quigmire/Flickr

In reality, the Cardinals (9-2, 6-1 MAC) ended the first half up by four points and were still within one possession of tying the game until the last minute and 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter, after which the Huskies (10-0, 6-0 MAC) won 48-27.

Senior quarterback Keith Wenning, who is in the midst of a stellar final season at Ball State, led his team up and down the field seemingly at will in the first half. Wenning finished with 324 yards passing and one score through the air, while also adding a touchdown on the ground.

But NIU’s star quarterback Jordan Lynch was not to be outdone. The Heisman Trophy hopeful had four touchdowns, two on the ground and two in the air, and accounted for 468 yards of total offense. Wide receiver Da’Ron Brown had a monster day for the Huskies, catching eight passes for 209 yards and two scores.

NIU’s defense took over in the second half, allowing only three points and capping off the victory with a pick-six with just 0:46 on the clock, handing the Cardinals their first conference loss and continuing their own quest for a perfect season.

Kent State dominates winless Miami (Ohio)

Kent State took care of business on Wednesday against the winless Miami (Ohio) team on Wednesday, winning 24-6.

The Golden Flashes (3-8, 2-5 MAC) walked all over the opposition, accumulating 300 yards rushing while averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Kent State quarterback Colin Reardon was effective enough, finishing 13-for-22 with 147 yards. Trayion Durham led the charge on the ground, rushing for 109 yards and scoring.

The real star of the game was the Golden Flashes’ defense, which held the RedHawks (0-10, 0-6 MAC) to only 176 yards of total offense. Miami failed to score in the second half and was held under its own scoring average of 9.6 points per game, a stat that ranks 126th in the nation.

The RedHawks did score the first points of the game on the first of two field goals by Kaleb Patterson, but the team quickly surrendered that lead. A red-zone fumble in the second quarter by Miami quarterback Austin Gearing proved to be the turning point as he coughed up the ball at the 18-yard line, leading to an 82-yard touchdown drive for Kent State.

Central Michigan conquers Western Michigan in rivalry game

Central Michigan came away with the ceremonious “Victory Cannon” on Saturday, defeating Western Michigan 27-22 in a rivalry game.

The Chippewas (4-6, 3-3 MAC) overcame five turnovers, including three interceptions thrown by quarterback Cooper Rush, to secure the victory. CMU running back Zurlon Tipton led the ground attack with 114 yards rushing on 29 carries while scoring on the opening two drives of the game. Wide receiver Titus Davis also played a critical role, catching nine balls for 122 yards.

The Broncos (1-10, 1-6 MAC) fought back, scoring 16 straight points behind three field goals from Andrew Haldeman and a touchdown by leading rusher Dareyon Chance, who finished with 93 yards on 14 carries.

CMU’s defense, which wreaked havoc on WMU quarterback Zach Terrell all day, forced a turnover-on-downs late in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory. Terrell competed 14 of 35 passes for 147 yards and threw an interception in the disappointing loss.

The Chippewas will host Massachusetts on Saturday.

Arthur Hayden can be reached at [email protected]