October 22, 2011 - 11:04 AM
We're back at UB Stadium for today's noon start. Good morning everybody. It's another difficult test for the Bulls, this time against Northern's offensive machine. Can UB match NIU's firepower, as it did against Ohio? As wild as this game might become I still believe the running game is key to UB's chances. They need to eat some clock and establish Branden Oliver as a threat in order to minimize the heat on QB Chazz Anderson.
0-0, 10:50: UB playing with big-time emotion on the defensive side. Forced a three-and-out on NIU's first possession and persevered when an Ed Young muffed punt gave Huskies another shot starting at UB 22. NIU came away pointless when 41-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Colby Way. Bulls also went three-on-out first time with ball.
Loving Jaleel Verser today. Already has a couple tackles for losses and a pass breakup. Defensive pursuit best I've seen but NIU's marching now. 30-yard pass from Harnish to Palmer has Northern inside UB 25.
NIU 3-0, 5:22: Sims hits FG from 40 for Huskies to cap 34-yard drive that began with recovery of Branden Oliver fumble. Bulls got a break when Nathan Palmer dropped 22-yard TD pass in end zone on third down.
3-3, 1:16: UB answers with 31-yard Fardon FG. Anderson has big completions to Rivers (21) and Neutz (28) on drive.
END OF FIRST: Exceptional defensive performance by UB. Harnish a mere 1 of 9 passing. Bulls getting pressure and the coverage has been super. Conversely, Anderson is 7 of 9 for 83 yards. Oliver just ripped off 21 yards and UB has drive going near midfield to start second quarter.
13:10: Fardon missed badly from 38 yards. Really thought Bulls would go for it on fourth-and-2 from 21. Offense was rolling again.
NIU, 10-3, 5:45: Huskies converted TWO fourth down on 78-yard drive capped by Jasmin Hopikins 1-yard run. Totally miffed by UB decision not to go for it on previous series. Just made no sense especially given their erradic kicking game. Huskies coverted fourth-and-2 from UB 30 and Hopkins TD came on a fourth-down play. Harnish had big scramble to 1 on third down.
10-10, 3:21: Anderson goes in from the 3 on third down and Bulls have knotted it up again. Neutz had another big reception on drive (27 yards) and Oliver went 13 yards up the gut on a nicely conceived and timed draw.
Northern 17-10, :37: Huskies go 57 yards with Harnish run from the 6 finishing off drive.
HALFTIME: Anderson 16 of 22 for 211 and Bulls have just 10 points to show for it. Decision to try FG could be turning point of afternoon. Huskies have rolled their last two possessions and will get ball to start second half.
Northern Illinois, 24-10: Whamo! Huskies take kickoff and go 72 yards in 42 seconds. Series opened with 39-yard pass to Perez Ashford and ended with Jasmin Hopkins running in from the 12. That's three TDs on the last three possessions for a team that ranks fourth in the country in scoring.
Northern Illinois, 31-10, 8:49: Two muffs cost Ed Young his punt returner's role. Cortney Lester goes in and -- muffs it. Huskies go 33 yards in a rush and the rout is on. Spectacularly brutal special-teams performance by Bulls today. Total disintegration. Five fumbles, three lost for Bulls today. Jeffvon Gill also recovered his own fumble on kickoff return.
Bulls DE Steven Means walked off the field under his own power with 11:17 remaining but will not return. He'll be undergoing X-rays. It appeared Means may have jammed his neck going in head-first on a tackle. He was down for an extended period before rising.
Northern, 31-17, 12:38: Anderson and Neutz connect on a 5-yard TD pass. Neutz has six catches for 102.
Huskies muffed kickoff and will start from own 2 following illegal block penalty. . . . Bulls force punt (it goes unfielded) and take over at own 46. Could get interesting. . . . Anderson third-down pass intercepted by Rashaan Melvin at Northern 17.
Northern, 31-24: Hold on, folks. Bulls got 55 yards in 53 seconds. Anderson to Rivers for a 16-yard TD pass. Anderson has career-high 355 passing yards.
Clarke kick goes OB. ARe you kidding me????????????? Huskies start at own 40 with 4:14 left. . . . Bulls hold. Northern in punt formation. Hughes deep at own 15. . . . Hughes fair catch at own 12. 2:49 left, 89 yards to go.
UB first down at Northern 44. 1:34 left. . . . Anderson to Neutz for 16 on 4th and 10. Bulls down to 22. 55 seconds..... Slant to Rivers gets 15. Down to 7. Anderson keeper stopped at 3. Bulls take final timeout with 23 seconds left. Anderson up to 401 yards passing. Only second UB QB to do it. Zach Maynard had 400 vs. Pitt in 2009
Anderson to Young for 3 yard TD.
AND FARDON MISSES EXTRA POINT. HOOKED.
-- BOB DICESARE