Final: NIU 30, Kansas 23
Northern Illinois scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat Kansas, 30-23, at Huskie Stadium Saturday. It's NIU's 17th straight win in DeKalb.
With 4:33 left in the game, NIU (3-1) running back Leighton Settle ran into the end zone from two yards out for the game-winning score.
"First of all, really proud of these guys, our football team," NIU coach Dave Doeren said. "What the Huskies were able to do today, keep the win streak at 17, which was one of our goals, not to lose at home."
Jordan Lynch had another strong game for NIU, going 23-for-35 passing with 235 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw an interception that was returned 54 yards for a touchdown by Kansas (1-3) cornerback Tyler Patmon. Lynch also ran for 134 yards.
Martel Moore had 105 yards on five catches, including a 65-yard touchdown reception.
The Huskies begin Mid-American Conference play next Saturday, when they host Central Michigan at 2:30 p.m.
End of the third quarter: Kansas 17, NIU 13
So many times, NIU has played a BCS team close, only to see the effort turn out ot be not quite enough. The Huskies, which entered this game as a favorite, are just one big play from taking the lead. NIU has the ball on its own 26-yard line, facing a big third-and-nine.
Deep passes have been few and far between, but Lynch had Da'Ron Brown one-on-one down the sideline on first down, but the Kansas coverage was good.
We'll see if any of those plays open up in the fourth.
Halftime: NIU 13, Kansas 10
Kansas' offense has been able to move the ball against the Huskies, but NIU's unit has done some work as well.
Jayhawks running back James Sims, playing his first game after a three-game suspension due to an offseason DUI arrest, already has 44 yards on just six carries (7.2 yards per carry). The Kansas running game has looked strong as a whole, averaging 5.3 ypc. Run defense is definitely something NIU should be concerned about.
Jordan Lynch has looked strong throwing and running the ball once again, although there were a couple first-half passes he'd sure like to have back. He's 12 of 18 with 81 yards passing and a touchdown, and has ran for 80 yards on just 12 carries.
End of the first quarter: NIU 6, Kansas 3
Kansas has moved the ball against the NIU defense on its first drive, but the Huskies held strong in the red zone, holding the Jayhawks to a field goal.
NIU's offense showed up on its second drive, converting a big fourth down on its way to taking the lead. Unfortunately for the Huskies, Mathew Sims missed the extra point.
Something to keep in mind during the second quarter – NIU has already used all three of its timeouts.
15 minutes until kickoff
Not too far away from the start of the game, and the stands are starting to fill up a little more. Interested to see if Huskie Stadium will be filled up this afternoon.
Time for predictions:
Daily Chronicle NIU beat writer Steve Nitz: NIU 28, Kansas 24
Daily Chronicle sports editor Ross Jacobson: NIU 31, Kansas 24
Half hour until kickoff
NIU middle linebacker Victor Jacques isn't listed on the Huskies' depth chart, meaning redshirt-freshman Boomer Mays will get the start. Interesting story, since Mays is from Lawrence, Kan.
Mays finished with seven tackles last week against Army, including two which came for loss. He made the biggest play of the game on the late fourth down in the fourth quarter, stopping Black Knights quarterback Trent Steelman, which allowed NIU to run out the clock.
The Huskies have been pretty healthy so far this year, and there aren't any other major changes on the depth chart. Cornerback Rashaan Melvin was banged up in practice this week, but he's playing.
One hour until kickoff
Northern Illinois fans have been waiting for this for a long time, and it's finally here. The Huskies are hosting a BCS team at Huskie Stadium.
Kickoff is roughly an hour away, and NIU's special teamers are out on the field. The Huskies will be featuring the all-black uniforms, the same ones they wore against Iowa.
It's the first time a BCS team has visited Huskie Stadium since 2003, when the Huskies beat Maryland and Iowa State, and NIU currently isn't scheduled to host a team in the future. Earlier this week, I spoke with NIU athletic director Jeff Compher about the process of getting a BCS team in DeKalb.
In this week's Take 2, myself and sports editor Ross Jacobson talked about how this is a showcase game for the Huskies.
– Steve Nitz, email@example.com, @SNitz_DDC on Twitter