Football: October 2011 Archives


Chandler Harnish rushing 1.jpgThere is a great story in the Rockford Register Star today by Matt Trowbridge on Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish. A first team All-MAC selection in 2010, Harnish has been the face of NIU football for the last two seasons and he is looking to close out his final campaign with a MAC championship. Be sure to check it out.


Harnish-Chandler-2010-002.jpgOne of Chandler Harnish's favorite groups to work with in the DeKalb-Sycamore area is the Cornerstone Christian Academy. Harnish took part in a fundraiser at the school Wednesday which as of Wednesday had raised $25,000 for tuition assistance to Cornerstone Christian Academy. The Daily-Chronicle was out at CCA and caught up with the Huskie signal caller in this piece.


Salerno-Mike-2009-008.jpgMike Salerno is back kicking in the Chicago area. The Orland Park native signed a deal to kick for the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League. Salerno, who kicked for NIU from 2008-09, scored 184 points hitting 73 extra points and going 19-of-25 on field goals. He kicked a career long 52 yarder for the Huskies in 2008.

The Rush will be Salerno's third AFL team. He kicked for the Kansas City Command in 2011 and the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz in 2010. Salerno and the Rush open their 2012 season Sunday, March 11th against the Tampa Bay Storm.


Collins-Spann.jpgFrom the where are they now file, I received this note from former Huskie center McAllister Collins Saturday afternoon. Collins, who played for the Huskies from 1997-2000, was a first team All-Mid-American Conference selection in 2000 and he was teammates with Huskie greats Justin McCariens, Ryan Diem and Thomas Hammock.

Collins, who is attending the prestigious Royal Military Academy - Sandhurst, met up with another former Huskie last week - Chad Spann. Spann, who had just signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, was on the trip to London where the Buccaneers faced off against the Chicago Bears. It was a reunion of sorts as the two had met before Spann had attended Northern Illinois.

My name is McAllister Collins and I will ALWAYS be a proud Huskie!  Upon departing from NIU I enjoyed a brief stint in the National Football League which was followed by continued work within the sports industry.  A couple years ago, I decided to "answer the call" and am now a Military Intelligence (Branch Detail - FIeld Artillery) Officer in the United States Army.  I was selected (from hundreds of potential candidates) and am now attending the Royal Military Academy - Sandhurst (RMAS).  RMAS is essentially the "West Point" for the British Army, except it is the sole commissioning source of British Army Officers.  As I am sure you are aware, in The United States, we also have ROTC and Officer Candidate School (OCS). 
Since I am one of only 10 Americans who have ever attended Sandhurst in the Academy's long, proud history, the administrators here try their best to get me involved in anything occurring closeby that is of American origin.  As such, we attended practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday (October 20) in preparation for their matchup against the Chicago Bears this Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London.  You can only imagine the joy I felt in my heart when I saw NIU's very own, Chad Spann, walking off of the practice field.  I actually met Chad back in his hometown years prior during a mentoring program run by a service organization in which I am a former member.  I introduced myself to him all those years ago when he mentioned that his goal was to attend Northern Illinois University and play football.  As a former Huskie football player myself ('97-'00, DT, OT, C), I became somewhat of an advisor for Chad and his family.  Who would have thought that over five years later, Chad and I would meet again in one of the most unlikely places. 
I have attached a photo of Chad and myself.  It's always great to see and meet new (and old) Huskies all over the world.
Go Huskies!
2LT McAllister Collins, Field Artillery
NIU Football - 1997-2000
By the way, of course I'm rooting for the Bears!!!!


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It was clearly a successful week for Northern Illinois, as they won all but two games during the past week. Meanwhile, men's golf and women's tennis posted excellent performances in their final competitions of the fall season

Football: After building a 31-10 lead through three quarters, the Huskies held on to beat Buffalo Saturday, 31-30, when the Bulls missed what would have been the tying extra point with 14 seconds to go. During the game, Chandler Harnish broke another NIU career record by surpassing George Bork's completion record in the second quarter. On defense, the Huskies picked off two passes and recovered two muffed punt returns.

Volleyball: Northern Illinois pushed their winning streak to seven with two dominating wins over MAC East opponents over the weekend. On Friday, the Huskies blanked Kent State, 3-0, courtesy of 51 kills and a 33.6 hitting percentage. NIU repeated that performance Saturday against MAC East leader Ohio, sweeping the Bobcats, 3-0, in a rematch of last season's MAC Tournament championship.

Men's Soccer: NIU posted their first two wins in MAC play during the week to improve to 2-2 in conference and 10-4 overall. On Wednesday, the Huskies used two second half goals from James Stevenson and solid goaltending from Jordan Godsey to shut out Western Michigan, 3-0. For Sunday's Senior Day, it was Stevenson again who was the hero, finding the back of the net in the 41st minute to lift Northern past Florida Atlantic, 1-0.

Women's Soccer: The Huskies wrapped up the road portion of their schedule over the weekend, dropping two matches in Ohio. Against Miami (Ohio), the Huskies fell 3-0 after being outshot 19-8 in the match. The team's struggles continued Sunday, when they fell to Bowling Green by a 2-0 margin despite holding the Falcons without a shot in the first half.

Men's Golf: Northern Illinois traveled to Maryland Monday and Tuesday for the Georgetown Intercollegiate, placing seventh out of 12 teams. Bryce Emory paced the Huskies with a third place finish individually, while Matt Gorman took 27th place. The tournament was NIU's last for the fall season, as they will return to action in February for the MAC Match Play tournament.

Women's Tennis: The Huskies put the finishing touches on their 2011 fall season over the weekend, as they hosted the ITA Second Chance Regional in Rockford, Ill. In singles, the team posted eight wins over the weekend, while they were 4-2 in doubles play.

It will be a relatively light week for NIU Athletics, as only five teams will be in action. In DeKalb, women's soccer wraps up their season with a match Thursday against Western Michigan and wrestling begins their season Saturday with the annual Wrestle-Offs. Also, volleyball heads east to face Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan, men's soccer battles Bowling Green Saturday and cross country competes in the MAC Championships in Muncie, Ind.


Pat Schiller Blitzes for a sack.jpgThe Northern Illinois University defense has shown vast improvements in the last two games, allowing an average of 16 points per game and keeping teams under 200 yards of total offense. That's quite a change from the 39.6 points and 499.8 yards of total offense allowed a game in the first five contests.

Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald breaks down the Huskies' improvement on the defensive side of the ball in this article in today's paper.


Harnish-Chandler-CMU.jpgChandler Harnish's double-double Saturday was an amazing feat. He became just the 10th player in NCAA FBS history to rush for 200 yards and pass for 200 yards tallying 229 yards rush and 203 yards passing. As Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune writes, Harnish, the Huskies' leading rusher with 671 yards, is just as dangerous with his legs than he is his arm.

Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle also offered his take on Harnish's running ability in this story found in today's paper.


Jordan Lynch.jpgMany teams in college football are employ a two quarterback offense and Northern Illinois University is no exception. Chandler Harnish and Jordan Lynch provide a nice one-two punch for the Huskie offense. As Rick Armstrong of the Beacon News writes, the playing time Lynch is receiving now is not only paying dividends this season, but it will also pay off in the future.


Harnish passing.jpgThere are a pair of stories in the Rockford Register Star today Huskie fans might be interested in. Jay Taft talks about how Chandler Harnish and the Huskies' performance Saturday against Western Michigan has vaulted them back into MAC title contention. Taft's colleague, Matt Trowbridge, filed this story on the guys that protect Harnish and open holes for Huskie running backs.


Chad Spann.jpgAnother former Northern Illinois University football player was signed by an NFL squad. A week after Tracy Wilson was signed to the New York Jets practice, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the signing of Chad Spann to the Buccaneer practice squad. Spann was on the team flight to London, England where the Bucs will face the Bears. Good thing Spann had his passport in order after the Huskies trip to Toronto for the 2010 International Bowl.


Chandler Harnish passing.jpgChandler Harnish's performance Saturday against Western Michigan made national news for the senior signal caller. It made Mark Schlabach's On the Mark portion of his column on today.

• Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish, a senior from Bluffton, Ind., became only the 10th player in FBS history to both run and pass for 200 yards in the same game. Harnish had 203 yards on 14-for-27 passing and ran for 229 on 14 attempts in a 51-22 rout of Western Michigan on Saturday. Harnish only played three quarters and ran for 163 yards in the third quarter alone.

Among the other players who accomplished the rare feat: former Texas quarterback Vince Young against Oklahoma State in 2005; ex-West Virginia star Pat White against Pittsburgh in 2006; and Michigan's Denard Robinson against both Notre Dame and Indiana last season.


Harnish and Lynch.jpgMany of the experts predicted a high-scoring game before Northern Illinois University's game with Western Michigan Saturday, but no one expected it to be so lopsided. The Huskies delivered an impressive 51-22 victory over the Broncos in NIU's 105th Homecoming game.  

In addition to complete coverage on, several area papers were at the game. Most of the stories centered around NIU's amazing offensive explosion, keyed by the incredible performance by NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish. Below are the links to all the game recaps.

Chicago Tribune: NIU routs Western Michigan 51-22

Sun Times: NIU's Chandler Harnish runs for 229 yards, throws for 203

Beacon News: Harnish no one-trick pony

Daily Chronicle: The adjustment bureau

Daily Chronicle: Huskies get defensive in win

Rockford Register Star: Chandler Harnish, Huskies steamroll key conference foe


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The middle week of October was a successful one for NIU Athletics. The hallmark moment was off the field, though, as the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center Campaign kicked off Saturday before the Huskie football team took on Western Michigan for Homecoming. The 83,500 square foot facility will house a full-size, 120-yard artificial surface football practice field with buffer space surrounding the field on all sides, in addition to a four-lane track, batting cages, and storage cages, among other amenities.

Football: It was a very successful Homecoming for the Huskies, as NIU throttled West Division rival Western Michigan, 51-22. Northern accumulated 697 yards of total offense against the Broncos, including 494 on the ground. In addition, Chandler Harnish became the 11th quarterback in the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision history to gain 200 yards rushing and passing in the same game.

Volleyball: Northern Illinois earned their second consecutive 2-0 weekend with two key wins over MAC East foes Akron and Buffalo. On Friday, the Huskies were pushed to five sets against the Zips, but used a commanding fifth set to propel them to a 3-2 win over UA. NIU returned to the court Saturday night against Buffalo, defeating the Bulls in a 3-0 sweep. Sophomore Lauren Wicinski led the Huskie attack with a career-high seven aces.

Men's Soccer: NIU traveled to Northwestern in their lone match of the week Wednesday. Despite solid defense in the first half and some chances on offense, the Wildcats dropped the Huskies at Lakeside Field, 2-0. The loss was the first for NIU against a Big Ten opponent in over two years.

Women's Soccer: It was a heartbreaking two matches for the Huskies, as they were dealt two one-goal losses at home. On Friday, NIU lost to Eastern Michigan, 1-0, on a windy day at the NIU Soccer Complex. The Huskies returned to action Sunday afternoon with a match against defending MAC champion Central Michigan. Despite limiting the Chippewas' offense to only seven shots on goal, Northern still dropped the match, 1-0.

Cross Country: The Huskies wrapped up their 2011 regular season with a 14th place out of 21 teams showing at the Bradley Classic in Peoria, Ill. Courtney Oldenburg led the way for NIU with a time of 22:42.09, which ranks as the 12th best 6K time in NIU history.

Men's Tennis: NIU headed east to Columbus, Ohio, for the ITA Midwest Regionals. In the main draws, Axel Lagerlof advanced to the Round of 32 before falling to 15th-seeded Stephen Hoh of Illinois in straight sets. In doubles, Maksym Bartiuk and Roman Turtygin also advanced to the Round of 32, but fell to Ohio State's 12th-ranked duo of Kevin Metka and Steven Williams, 8-1.

Women's Golf: Northern Illinois could not solve the Hawthornes Golf and Country Club course Monday and Tuesday in Fishers, Ind., as they placed 14th at the MAC Preview. Allie Parthie led NIU tied for 72nd place with a 171-shot performance.

Six Huskie teams will be in action during the upcoming week, including a pair of men's soccer matches at the NIU Soccer Complex Wednesday and Sunday and volleyball hosting Kent State and MAC-leading Ohio at Victor E. Court.


Chandler Harnish 2.jpgAs Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald writes in his preview today, Saturday's 105th Homecoming Game between Northern Illinois and Western Michigan is going to be a showcase for two of the best quarterbacks in the nation. WMU's Alex Carder and Chandler Harnish are 1-2 in the MAC in total offense. It's also a big game for both team's hopes of reaching Detroit for the MAC Championship game.

Rick Armstrong of the Beacon News gave his take on the quarterback duel in this preview that appeared in today's edition.


Congratulations go out to former Northern Illinois University safety Tracy Wilson, who was signed to the Jets practice squad. He originally signed with the Jets Aug 24 as an undrafted free agent. Wilson appeared in the final two preseason games for New York. Wilson played three years at NIU, tallying 171 tackles in 32 games played.


Defensive Stop.jpgThe Northern Illinois University defense turned in its best performance of the season, giving up three points and allowing 64 yards of total offense, including one yard rushing, in the Huskies' 40-10 victory over Kent State. As Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune writes, maintaining that level of play will be the key for the Huskies' success against Western Michigan.


Sims-Mathew-2010-013.jpgNorthern Illinois University placekicker Mathew Sims was named a "Star of the Week" by the Lou Groza National Collegiate Place-Kicker Award. The sophomore from Hannibal, Mo. was a perfect four-for-four Saturday in NIU's 40-10 victory over Kent State. Sims connected on field goals of 31, 32, 44 and 34. I was his second consecutive four field goal performance and the first four-for-four day of his career. His 44-yarder ties a career high set earlier this season against Cal Poly. Sims is now 10-of-13 on the season in field goals and is 26-of-27 on PATs.


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Five Huskie teams were in action during the past week. Among the highlights were Saturday's football win over Kent State and volleyball's two wins in conference play.

Football: Northern Illinois returned to Huskie Stadium Saturday to post a dominating 40-10 victory over Kent State. The Huskie defense only allowed seven rushing yards and 70 yards of total offense on the day, while recording 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks in the rout. Chandler Harnish found the endzone twice and Matthew Sims was a perfect four-for-four on field goals.

Volleyball: The Huskies won both of their matches during the week to improve to 4-2 in MAC play. On Thursday, NIU swept Western Michigan, 3-0, while sophomore Lauren Wicinski became the fastest Huskie to join the 1,000 kill club. Northern doubled Thursday's performance Saturday night by topping Miami (Ohio), 3-0, on NIU Volleyball Alumni Night.

Men's Soccer: The Huskies kicked off a three-game road trip Tuesday when they headed north to face Marquette. After going scoreless in regulation and in the first overtime, Jayson LeSeth launched a shot into the right corner of the MU net to win it for the Huskies, 1-0. NIU then traveled east to face defending NCAA champion Akron, where they fell to the No. 3 Zips, 2-0.

Women's Soccer: Northern Illinois tallied their first MAC win of the season Friday night, when they defeated Buffalo, 1-0. Lauren Eberts scored the lone goal with a marker in the 67th minute. On Sunday, NIU and Kent State combined for five goals in the match. However, KSU's two scores in the final four minutes of play edged them ahead of NIU, 3-2.

Women's Golf: The Huskies closed out their home tournament on Monday by placing seventh in the 12-team field. Allie Parthie paced NIU with a tie for ninth place, while Kelsie Passolt and Katie Kuhn both posted top 30 finishes at the Kishwaukee Country Club.

Northern Illinois' homecoming week will feature seven teams in action, including Saturday's crucial football game against Western Michigan and two home women's soccer matches.


Part II of Ryan Wood's two-part story on the journey Donovan Gordon and Tim Semisch took to Northern Illinois University after the football program at Nebraska-Omaha was cut. As the story points out, both men arrived at NIU, but took different paths to get here.


Semisch-Tim.jpgRyan Wood of the Daily Chronicle sat down with a pair of unlikely Huskies, Donovan Gordon and Tim Semisch. Both were football players at Nebraska-Omaha until the school decided to cut its successful football and wrestling programs.When the two were looking for schools to further their education and football playing careers, they chose Northern Illinois. Thursday's story is part one of a two-part story on the events that transpired to bring the two to NIU.


Doeren 7.jpgAs Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle writes in this feature, Dave Doeren is adjusting well to his role as a head coach. Doeren, who came to NIU after serving as defensive coordinator at Wisconsin is in his first head coach position and understands his role.

"I think the process I'm going through as a head coach, you always want to do more," Doeren said. "You have to decide, at what point are you being a master of nothing? If I try to do everything, I'm not helping anybody."

MAC Basketball Blog

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