99   Craig Rusch
Craig Rusch

RS Senior

Hilbert, WI

High School:

Height / Weight:
6-4 / 265



Finished his NIU career with 120 total tackles, 27 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. Ranks tied for 10th all-time at NIU in sacks. Also has seven career pass deflections and four fumble recoveries.

2008: Made 20 total tackles, including 11 solo stops, in 12 games and 11 starts. Added six tackles for loss and a pair of quarterback sacks. ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District V honoree. Scooped up a fumble, and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown in the snow against Kent State (Nov. 18) to earn NIU Defensive Lineman of the Week recognition. Also made a pair of tackles at KSU, one for loss. Honored as the MAC West Defensive Player of the Week after recording three solo tackles and a sack against Bowling Green. Totaled a season-best six tackles versus Central Michigan, including two for loss. Had three tackles versus Indiana State, two for loss with one quarterback sack. Credited with a pair of tackles versus Miami and one solo tackle in both the Minnesota and Western Michigan games. Moved from defensive tackle to defensive end for his senior season.

2007: Suffered a season-ending knee injury early in the Eastern Michigan game (9-15). Started the first three games at defensive tackle. Began the season with a strong performance with six tackles, five solo, vs. Iowa (9-1). Has a six-yard tackle-for-loss in that contest. Totaled four tackles vs. Southern Illinois (9-8)

2006: Started seven of 11 games played. Second on team with 14 tackles for loss and six sacks. Led team with four forced fumbles, ranked second among defensive linemen with 49 tackles and had one fumble recovery. Tied for fifth in MAC and tied for 37th nationally with 1.15 tackles for loss per game. Placed ninth in MAC and tied for 63rd nationally with 0.55 sacks per game. Had at least one tackle for loss or sack in 11 consecutive games. Registered a sack in each of first three games played. Totaled five tackles and one sack in season debut vs. Indiana State (9-23). Collected a sack and two total tackles at Ball State (9-30). Racked up 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and four stops at Miami (10-8). Had tackle for loss and pass break up in nine-tackle outing at Western Michigan (10-14). Recovered fumble and had a tackle for loss vs. Temple (10-21). Registered eight tackles, including 1.5 for loss, at Iowa (10-28). Broke up two passes with four tackles and 1.5 TFLs vs. Toledo (11-7). Had a sack and a TFL in five-tackle performance vs. Central Michigan (11-17). Racked up eight tackles, including one for loss and a sack, at Eastern Michigan (11-24). Credited with four tackles, two for loss with one sack, vs. TCU in Poinsettia Bowl (12-19).

2005: Third-Team Freshman All-America by CollegeFootballNews.com. Started four of seven games played. Tied for team lead with five sacks and ranked second with six tackles for loss. Totaled 39 tackles, three pass break ups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Had pass deflection, quarterback pressure and totaled two tackles against Tennessee Tech (9-17). Racked up seven tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, one quarterback pressure, and one pass deflection in first collegiate start vs. Eastern Michigan (10-14-05). Tied for team lead with nine tackles and was credited with quarterback hurry in start at Kent State (10-22). Recorded five tackles, one sack, and recovered fumble in start against Ball State (10-29). Collected career-best 11 tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and one pass deflection in start at Central Michigan (11-5). Registered 10-yard sack and totaled three tackles vs. Akron in MAC Championship Game (12-1).

2004: Redshirted.

High School: Recorded 189 career tackles and 24 QB sacks as defensive tackle and end, and blocked for state's all-time leading rusher as offensive tackle. Selected team captain, first team Olympian Conference on offense and defense, league Co-Defensive Player of the Year, first team Appleton Post-Crescent All-Area on offense and defense, and first team Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All-State on defense and honorable mention all-state on offense as a senior. Totaled 72 tackles and a school-record 15 sacks on 12-1 conference champion and Division 7 playoff semifinalist during senior season. Named first team all-conference with 62 tackles and six sacks on 12-2 league and state Division 6 runner-up as a junior. Recorded 55 tackles for 13-1 league champion and state runner-up as a sophomore. Three-time football letterwinner and earned four letters in track and two in basketball. State Division 3 runner-up in both shot put and discus during final prep season. Placed fourth in Division 3 discus as junior. Reserve on Division 3 state basketball semifinalist as junior. Four-year Honor Roll student and National Honor Society member.

Personal: Born Dec. 19, 1985 in Neenah, Wisc. Mechanical Engineering major. Son of Paul and Cathy Rusch. Hobbies include boating, carpentry and cars. Victory scholar earned a 4.0 GPA last spring.


Year G/GS Solo Assist Total TFL-Yds. Sk.-Yds. FF/FR Int/PBU
2005 7/0 18 21 39 6-37 5-36 2/2 0/3
2006 10/7 17 32 49 14-37 6-26 0/1 0/3
2007 3/3 6 4 10 1-6 0-0 0/0 0/0
2008 12/11 11 9 20 6-13 2-9 0/1 0/1
Career 32/21 53 67 120 27-93 13-71 2/4 0/7


Tackles: 11, vs. Central Michigan, 11-5-05
TFLs: 2, three times, last vs. Central Michigan, 11-12-08
Sacks: 1, 13 times, last vs. Bowling Green, 10-25-08

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