Final: NIU 41, Army 40
What a game. What a game.
Army (0-2) ran for about a billion yards, and at times it seemed like NIU (2-1) had scored on every play. Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch made two big mistakes, an interception and two fumbles, but overall he was money, putting the ball where he needed to and coming up with some huge runs.
Lynch finished the game 18-for-27 passing with 342 yards and four touchdowns. He ran for 125 yards and a touchdown.
NIU's defense, which played well the first two weeks, didn't play its best, allowing Army to rush for 486 yards. But the defense got a huge stop late in the game, with Boomer Mays tackling Army quarterback Trent Steelman short of the first down on a 4th-and-3, which allowed the Huskies to run out the clock.
I'm about to go down to the press conference and then head to LaGuardia Airport for my flight back to Chicago. Check Huskiewire.com later tonight for more coverage from the game.
End of the third: Army 34, NIU 28
With NIU already up two points, Jordan Lynch looked like he was going to go in for another touchdown. On a keeper, Lynch dove towards the end zone, and the ball broke the plane of the goal line before he lost it. Army recovered the fumble in the end zone, and the play was reviewed.
Replays clearly showed the ball breaking the plane before it came out of Lynch's hands, but for whatever reason, the call wasn't reversed. Army then took the ball at the 25-yard line and scored to take a 34-28 lead.
I hate giving the referees any blame. They get most of the calls right, and it's not an easy job. But when you have a replay like that that's clear, there's no excuse to get it wrong.
Should be an interesting fourth quarter, to say the least.
Halftime: NIU 28, Army 19
The Black Knights scored a late, 13-yard touchdown drive, and got to within nine points of the Huskies after a missed two-point conversion. Army was helped out by two NIU timeouts, as the Huskies had hoped to get the ball back.
But the main story in West Point is the fact Army cannot stop NIU, whether it's on the ground or through the air. The Huskies have ran just 18 plays and have had the ball for 6:02. In that time they've gained 296 yards of offense.
NIU gets the ball back after the half, so we'll see how quickly they can score this time.
End of the first quarter
This just in, Jordan Lynch can run, and he can run well. His long touchdown run was impressive, but he just outdid that with an 88-yard scamper to give NIU the lead over Army. It was that quarterback run play that's worked so well for the Huskies. Lynch went left, and the only person who had a chance at him was a safety, but Lynch juked him. The run is the longest against an Army opponent since 2006.
The Huskies struggled with the triple option on Army's first drive, but got a stop the second time the Black Knights had the ball.
Just prior to kickoff
It's prediction time. I'm going to take NIU in this one, as I just think the Huskies are just the better team. NIU's defense has passed the test the first two weeks of the year, so it'll be interesting to see how the Huskies handle the triple option.
Pick: NIU 24, Army 14
15 minutes until kickoff
I'm sitting here in the press box at Michie Stadium, waiting for Northern Illinois and Army to finally kick off.
Beautiful setting here, with the mountains, Lux Reservoir and Hudson River located in the background of the facility. The Huskies are on the field, and the cadets are starting to file in. Even though West Point is roughly an hour from New York, it's in a really secluded area.
It's definitely going to be one of the more interesting venues I'll ever visit. Really looking forward to the rest of the pregame festivities.
– Steve Nitz, email@example.com, @SNitz_DDC on Twitter