MOBILE, Ala. – In his final Northern Illinois game, Chandler Harnish didn’t run for enough yards to become the first quarterback in Football Bowl Subdivision history to pass for 3,000 and rush for 1,500.
The senior, who will try to create a future for himself in professional football as soon as the Huskies plane lands in Illinois, did leave a national audience with a lasting impression that he can be big-time passer.
The game largely was controlled by Harnish’s passing ability.
It was clear NIU coach Dave Doeren and offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s game plan revolved around their dual threat quarterback’s ability in the pocket. Harnish had a tweaked ankle that he aggravated midway through the second quarter, but he was still able complete 18 of 36 passes for 274 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Harnish joined former NIU quarterback George Bork as the second quarterback in school history to pass for 3,000 yards in a single season, and surpassed Bork’s 3,077 to become the single-season record holder. Known as a dual-threat quarterback, perhaps a byproduct of this era in college football, Harnish made a statement Sunday night about his future pro prospects. It’s a statement that could translate to a nice pay day.
Moore sets stage: Junior receiver Martel Moore set the stage for a potentially brilliant senior season. He needed only three quarters to become the seventh receiver in NIU history to have 200 receiving yards in a game, and the first since Matt Simon’s 204 in 2007.
Moore had eight catches for 224 yards. He also caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Chandler Harnish to give the Huskies their 15-point lead with 13:30 left in the third quarter.
Ticket sales meet expectations: NIU spokeswoman Donna Turner said the Huskies sold about 1,700 tickets for Sunday night’s game, which met the athletics department’s expectations. Arkansas State fans fans greatly outnumbered NIU fans, primarily because of the school’s relatively close proximity to Mobile. It was also the Red Wolves’ second bowl game, and they were looking for the first bowl victory in program history.
The GoDaddy Bowl does not require a school to buy a set number of tickets, a stipulation that helped save NIU thousands of dollars last season when it played in the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho.