Obviously, it was another tough loss against a BCS team for NIU. The Huskies had to lead, only to relinquish it late, something that's all too familiar in these games. The offense sputtered, gaining just 201 total yards. Quarterback Jordan Lynch ran the ball well, but struggled through the air.
But there were positives. I liked what I saw from a defense that sacked Hawkeyes quarterback James Vandenberg six times. The Huskies didn't force the big turnover, but I think the unit is in for some big things this season.
Fans hate losing these close games to teams like Iowa year after year. But keep in mind, NIU still stayed with a decent Big Ten team. The Huskies will cause problems for teams in the Mid-American Conference.
End of the third quarter
NIU committed the first big turnover of the game, a Jordan Lynch fumble, but the Huskies defense stood their ground, holding the Hawkeyes to a field goal. NIU also has a snap go over Lynch's head, forcing the Huskies to take a big loss and basically waste a series.
Huskies coach Dave Doeren has said Lynch is a better runner than former NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish, and fans definitely saw where Doeren's coming from today. Lynch looked like he was going to get caught on his 73-yard touchdown run, but he outran the Hawkeyes secondary.
NIU has the ball to start the fourth quarter. A nice, long drive and a score would be huge for the Huskies here.
The Huskies lead Iowa 10-6 at halftime, and NIU fans should be happy with this score.
I've really liked what I've seen from NIU's running game so far. Leighton Settle has looked real good, and Lynch has ran the ball good as well. The wild card in the Huskies' backfield, true freshman Keith Harris Jr., scored a touchdown on his first carry.
The problem is, the Hawkeyes have owned time of possession. Iowa has had the ball for 19:07, compared to just 10:53 for NIU. This could become a problem in the 2nd half. The Huskies' defense has allowed Iowa to run the ball, but they're not breaking.
As far as the crowd goes, I'd say its about 90 percent Hawkeye fans, and that's not an exaggeration. Doesn't look to be affecting the Huskies too much though.
End of the first quarter
NIU has moved the ball down inside the Iowa 10-yard line. The Huskies' running game has looked good. Quarterback Jordan Lynch has had some really nice runs, as has Leighton Settle. Jamal Womble looked like he was stuffed on a third down, but he had a nice second effort to get the first.
5 minutes until kickoff
The Huskies just marched out on to the field in a stadium filled with black and yellow. With kickoff coming up, here are the Daily Chronicle staff predictions:
NIU beat writer Steve Nitz: Iowa 24, NIU 10
Sports editor Ross Jacobson: Iowa 28, NIU 17
Daily Chronicle contributor Steve Nitz: Iowa 31, NIU 21
30 minutes until kickoff
Daily Chronicle Northern Illinois beat writer Steve Nitz here at Soldier Field, which is starting to fill up. Heading in here, I saw a ton of Iowa fans, and there were even more tailgating at the Waldron parking deck. Judging by the fans in the stands so far, this is basically going to be a home game for Iowa.
I'll be live tweeting and live blogging throughout the game, so stay tuned to Twitter (@Huskie Huskiewire.com for updates from Soldier Field.
– Steve Nitz, snitz@shawmedia..com, @SNitz_DDC on Twitter