Created:Thursday, August 28, 2014 10:32 p.m.CDT
Updated:Thursday, August 28, 2014 10:34 p.m.CDT
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NIU tops Presbyterian in season opener

By STEVE NITZ - snitz@shawmedia.com
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H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Northern Illinoi's Da'Ron Brown pulls in a Matt McIntosh pass for a first quarter touchdown against Presbyterian in a non conference game on August 28, 2014 in DeKalb, Ill. (H. Rick Bamman)

DeKALB – It didn't matter who was at quarterback.

Northern Illinois' offense could not be stopped.

NIU head coach Rod Carey didn't announce a starter leading up to Thursday night's season opening 55-3 win against Presbyterian at Huskie Stadium. There wasn't even a starter announced during the pregame warmups.

It didn't matter which signal-caller was in, Presbyterian (0-1), a Football Championship Subdivision program that went just 3-8 last season, was overmatched in every facet of the game.

Earlier in the week, Carey didn't rule out playing multiple quarterbacks, and that's exactly what happened.

It was Matt McIntosh who took the field first, leading the Huskies on three scoring drives in the first quarter. Drew Hare took over in the second quarter, and was under center for the next five drives. His final pass of the night was a 49-yard touchdown pass to Juwan Brescacin.

Then it was time for sophomore Anthony Maddie, the third player battling it out for the starting job. He played with the second team and played the rest of the contest.

"I'm going to have to go back and look at it (on film)," Carey said after the game. "My gut right now is that all three played really good, these two (McIntosh and Hare) in the first half played really well, and then Maddie went in there and played some good things, too."

McIntosh finished the game 10 of 14 for 87 yards and a touchdown, while Hare went 8 of 13 for 100 yards and a score. Maddie, who played with the second team, went 1-for-4 for 24 yards.

"I was pretty comfortable coming in with a nice lead," Hare said. "The offensive line was doing a great job moving people, so I had no reason not to be comfortable."

The quarterbacks won't put up rushing numbers like Jordan Lynch, but all of them showed off their athletic ability. McIntosh ran four times for 27 yards, while Hare had five carries for 51 yards. Maddie had nine carries for 51 yards.

"We've got playmakers around me, I don't know, maybe schematically they were more keying on those guys," Hare said. "We ran draw, the holes opened up, the line did a great job."

Even with projected starter Cameron Stingily out with an undisclosed injury, the Huskies showed off their tailback depth. Sophomore Joel Bouagnon ran for 97 yards and four touchdowns, including a 23-yard scamper, while senior Akeem Daniels – playing for the first time since 2012, had 15 carries for 118 yards.

Bouagnon, who played as a true freshman last season, hadn't scored a touchdown coming into Thursday night.

"It felt really good," Bouagnon said. "... I just take it one play at a time, one step at a time. I try not to get my head too big, I'm just focusing on the game."

The Huskies ran 109 plays, breaking the school record of 102 which was set in 1981. NIU also extended its home win streak to 27 games.

NIU will face a much stiffer challenge in Week 2, as the Huskies will play at Northwestern on Saturday, Sept. 6. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m.

Comments

Given a full slate of games against Big Ten teams, which team finishes with the best record?
NIU
Purdue
Northwestern