The Northern Illinois Huskies are now 30 minutes of good football away from a MAC division title and a ticket to the MAC conference championship game at Ford Field in Detriot, as they lead the Eastern Michigan Eagles 12-3 at the half. With winds gusting at 20mph out of the southwest, the weather has been a factor in keeping the scoring low through the first two quarters. Even so, game has been marked by some big plays.
NIU opened the scoring opened in the game with a 54-yard TD pass from QB Chandler Harnish to senior WR Willie Clark going against the wind, and then Eastern Michigan responded with a 10-play, 67-yard drive at the end of the first quarter, highlighted by a 42-yard reception from Eagles' WR Tyreese Russell, that resulted in a field goal.
At the open of the second quarter, the Eagles forced a turnover on downs by smothering NIU punter Ryan Neir, who avoided kicking a punt that would have surely been blocked. On the ensuing drive, the NIU defense forced a turnover on downs by preventing the Eagles from converting a 4th and 4-yards-to-go in Huskies' territory.
NIU then got back on the board by forcing a saftey, stuffing Eagles' RB Dominique Sherrer on a rush up the middle while Eastern Michigan was trying desperately to get out of the shadow of their own end zone. The Huskies then took the safety kick and marched 30-yards on 10 plays for a 39-yard field goal by Mathew Sims to push the score to 12-3.
The Huskies have been able to control the game by limiting the Eagles to 15 yards on 18 carries on the ground (0.8 yds/car), while producing 94-yards on 23 carries (4.1 yds/car) on their own drives.
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