35 Dustin Utschig
2006 Team Captain
Career: Won "unofficial" Mid-Am tackle title (121 stops in 11 games from Northern Illinois coaching game films) and "officially" finished No. 8 in MAC interceptions (three for 50 yards) last fall. Arrived on the scene as Special Teams MVP at Silicon Valley Football Classic on ESPN2 for blocking punt in second period that led to field goal and first Huskie lead (17-14) vs. Troy (12-30-04). Owns 11 starts, 151 tackles, and 1,427 overall snaps in 33 career appearances (2003-05).
Joe Novak: "If you are going to be a good football team, you have to have four or five surprises every year, players who haven't played a lot of football who step up and have a great year, sort of unexpected. Dustin is a great example of that. The more experience Dustin gets, the more he plays, the better he gets. He's a leader back there. He had one of those great years."
2006 Preseason: First-Team All-MAC by Athlon Sports. First-team All-MAC by CBS SportsLine. Second-Team All-MAC choice by Lindy's. Listed as Second-Team All-MAC selection by Phil Steele's College Football Preview. Picked off two passes in spring game (4-22-06).
2005: Finished No. 1 in team stops (121), No. 1 in solo tackles (88), No. 1 (tie) in fumble-cause hits (2), No. 1 in pass interceptions (3), No. 2 (tie) in deflections (4), and No. 4 in overall snaps (899). Named MAC West Defensive Player of the Week with team-high 15 tackles (11 solo) and two "picks" for 50 yards vs. Toledo (11-16-05). Set up go-ahead TD vs. UT with third period 50-yard interception return. Became first Northern Illinois player to pick off two passes in same game since CB Rob Lee vs. Eastern Michigan (11-22-03). Ranked No. 6 (tie) in NCAA single-game interceptions (two vs. Toledo). Earned third letter, plus recorded seven double-digit tackle performances and 11 starts at FS. Produced career-high 17 stops and fumble-cause hit in first start vs. No. 4-rated Michigan (9-3-05). Added 16 tackles vs. Northwestern (9-10-05). Made 16 hits and pass deflection vs. Central Michigan (11-5-05). Notched 12 stops vs. Ball State (10-29-05), plus 10 tackles apiece vs. Miami (OH) (10-5-05) and vs. Western Michigan (11-23-05).
2004: Earned second letter with 226 overall snaps (219 on special teams and seven on offense) in 10 games. Ranked No. 1(tie) in team blocked kicks (one), No. 2 (tie) in punt returns (one for 16 yards) and No. 17 in tackles (13). Collected soph-best three tackles in season-high 34 snaps vs. Iowa State (9-18-04) and three hits in 27 plays vs. Western Michigan (10-23-04). Added two stops in 26 snaps vs. No. 22 (AP) Maryland (9-4-04). Missed two mid-year games due to right hand fracture. Contributed to punt, punt return, KO, KO return, and kick block units. Opened year as No. 2 SS.
2003: Won first letter with 302 overall snaps (285 on special teams and 17 on defense) in 12 games. Ranked No. 17 (tie) in team tackles (17). Made 1-A debut with two stops and 35 snaps vs. No. 15 (AP) Maryland (8-28-03). Produced career-high four hits vs. Eastern Michigan (11-22-03). Added three tackles vs. Ball State (11-1-03). Netted two stops apiece vs. Tennessee Tech (9-6-03), vs. Iowa State (9-27-03), and vs. No. 23 (AP) Bowling Green State (10-25-03). Credited with one stop and 3rd. Qt. fumble recovery that led to TD vs. Toledo (11-15-03). Began season at No. 3 FS.
2002: Red-shirted as true frosh. Started career at No. 4 FS.
Prep: All-State RB on state title team. Graduated with 15 school records. Produced 4,792 career rushing yards, 6,509 all-purpose yards, 74 TDs, and 446 points at RB and 194 tackles at DB (1999-2001). Recorded 13 career rushing games over 150 yards--topped by 276-yard effort vs. Hortonville (2000). Named team captain, First-Team All-Valley Eight Conference, First-Team Appleton Post-Crescent All-Area and Area Player of the Year, First-Team WFCA All-Region and Honorable Mention All-State, Honorable Mention Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All-State, and Second-Team AP All-State on 13-1 Division 3 state kingpin as a senior for coach Gene Strusz. Rated No. 18 college prospect in state. Led all rushers with 94 yards and two TDs (21 and 10 yards) on 20 carries, hit 3-of-3 passes for 85 yards, and made one catch as Player of the Game in state title contest vs. Waunakee (11-15-01). Scored 33 TDs and 200 points in final year. Selected First-Team All-VEC and loop Offensive Player of the Year, First-Team All-Area, First-Team WFCA All-Region, and Honorable Mention AP All-State on 10-2 loop champ as a junior. Ran for 1,810 yards and 20 TDs on 298 attempts (2000). Produced 921 yards and nine TDs on 107 carries as First-Team All-VEC and All-Area pick as soph (1999). Tabbed for Shrine Game (2002). Lettered in football (3), basketball (3), and track (3). Voted school Male Athlete of the Year by faculty (2001-02). Named team captain and Honorable Mention All-VEC on 20-6 Division 2 Regional kingpin in basketball as a senior. Qualified for state finals in long jump, 4 x 100 relay, 100 and 200 meters (2001).
Chart: Posted 4.57 timing in 40, 20 reps with 225 pounds, 33-inch vertical jump, 285-pound power clean, 335-pound bench press, and 400-pound back squat in off-season conditioning program (2006).
Birthdate (Age): 8-8-83 (23).