DeKALB – Northern Illinois coach Jerry Kill used the Huskies second scrimmage of training camp to practice game-type situations.
With the scoreboard operating correctly unlike during Thursday’s scrimmage, the Huskies practiced the two-minute drill (trying to score) and the four-minute drill (trying to run out the clock). NIU also played several overtime periods and forced its inexperienced kickers to play under intense pressure (almost 100 teammates screaming within five feet of the snapper, holder and kicker).
“I thought Thursday was very good in a lot of ways and I thought (Saturday) was good in a lot of different ways,” Kill said. “I thought we improved in the kicking game, which I was very pleased with. We played through all kinds of situation … about every situation in football. Pooch punt. You name it we did it. Our kids got an education of situations they’re going to have to play in. We can take what we got in film and go teach those kids what to expect.”
Three running backs scored touchdowns for the Huskies: junior Cameron Bell on a two-yard plunge, senior Chad Spann on a 13-yard screen pass and junior Jasmin Hopkins on a second-effort one-yard dive. Senior Ricky Crider also looked sharp and had a 15-yard rush.
Junior Chandler Harnish passed for two touchdowns, the first to Spann and the second on a scramble to Jack Marks after a botched field-goal snap. Junior DeMarcus Grady found Nathan Palmer for an 18-yard touchdown, and freshman Jordan Lynch found Anthony Johnson for a 25-yard score.
Freshman kicker Matt Sims drilled a 45-yard field goal for the offense’s first score of the day.
Junior safety Tracy Wilson intercepted a Harnish pass after it was tipped in the air by a receiver.
The offensive line kept the defensive line at bay when compared to Thursday’s scrimmage when the Huskies defense had seven sacks.
“It’s getting toward the end of the second week, and we’re starting to figure out what they’re doing and how they’re giving away things," junior offensive tackle Trevor Olson said. “We’re picking up on those little hints they’re giving us.
“As long as we’re moving the ball, we’re good. We want to score touchdowns, not field goals.”