Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Northern Illinois outlasts Toledo in battle for first place, Buffalo tramples Akron

(Cade Belisle/ Daily Collegian)
(Cade Belisle/ Daily Collegian)

Northern Illinois took over first place in the tightly-contested MAC West after beating previously top-ranked Toledo, 27-24.

With the win, the Huskies improved to 32-0 since 2010 when they rush 45 or more times in a game.

The Rockets (6-4, 5-1 MAC) were decimated by injuries at the quarterback position. While regular starter Logan Woodside was sidelined due to a leg injury, redshirt freshman Michael Julian was also lost after suffering a concussion in the second quarter.

Northern Illinois (8-2, 5-1 MAC) opened up the scoring first when freshman kicker Christian Hagan hit his first career field goal, a 37-yarder to give the Huskies an early 3-0 lead.

Northern Illinois began a balanced offensive attack on its next possession, culminating in a 64-yard catch-and-run by Da’Ron Brown.

Toledo made it a game after Dwight Macon replaced Julian at quarterback, delivering a 69-yard touchdown strike on his second play from scrimmage to even the game at 10-10 with five minutes, 22 seconds to go in the half.

After the Huskies entered halftime with a 13-10 lead, the second half was characterized by alternating scores. But after Macon converted his second rushing touchdown of the game to trim Northern Illinois’ lead to 27-24, the Huskies maintained possession, avoiding a comeback from the Rockets.

Northern Illinois was led by senior tailback Cameron Stingily, who amassed 81 yards on 21 carries to go along with two second half touchdowns.

The Huskies look to stay atop the division next Tuesday night when they take on Ohio in a nationally televised game. Toledo will look to get back on track next Wednesday night when it hosts Bowling Green on ESPN2.

Bulls unleash recent frustration on Zips in record fashion

Since joining the MAC in 1999, Buffalo had never scored 55 points in a single game until Tuesday night when it was against the top-scoring defense in the division.

The Bulls (4-6, 2-4 MAC) erupted for 536 yards in a 55-24 thrashing against Akron, putting an end to a four-game losing streak.

After committing a couple of quick turnovers, including an interception returned for a touchdown to start the game, Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata settled in to throw for 193 yards and four touchdowns.

The four scores put the junior at 56 touchdowns for his career, breaking the previous Bulls’ previous record of 52.

The Zips (4-6, 2-4 MAC) couldn’t capitalize on its initial 7-0 lead, as Buffalo would score four touchdowns in the first half to build a 27-10 lead at the half.

In the third quarter, Akron gave one last push towards a comeback, scoring a touchdown to bring them within 10 points, but the Zips wouldn’t score again until the game was out of reach in the fourth quarter.

Taking advantage of an Akron turnover, Buffalo scored twice in 22 seconds, giving them a comfortable 41-17 cushion.

The Bulls finished the game with almost every statistical advantage, including nearly doubling the Zips’ total yards (536-229).

Next week, Akron will look to rebound in its home finale when it hosts UMass Tuesday. Buffalo will have its final home Wednesday, as the Bulls try to build momentum against Kent State.

Connor Eckstrom can be reached at [email protected].

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