Northern Illinois at Minnesota



Aug. 30, 2008

Recap |  Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

Chandler Harnish completed 17 passes in 29 attempts for 326 yards with no interceptions and two touchdowns in his Huskie debut. The 326 passing yards is the most by a Huskie quarterback since Phil Horvath passed for a school-record 486 yards at Akron on Sept. 24, 2005. Harnish's total is the eighth-highest single-game yardage total in school history.

Chandler Harnish became the first freshman (true or redshirt) to start a season-opener for the Huskies at quarterback since 1985 when Marshall Taylor (Detroit, Mich.). On Sept. 7, 1985, Taylor completed 5-of-12 passes for 52 yards with 2 interceptions and one TD pass as Northern Illinois defeated Western Michigan, 17-10, at home. The last freshman to start any game for the Huskies was Dan Nicholson, who started the last three games of the 2005 season, beginning with NIU's 35-17 victory at Toledo on Nov. 16.

Newcomer (and Winona State transfer) Mike Salerno's 49-yard field goal in the third quarter was the longest field goal by an NIU kicker since December 1, 2005, when Chris Nendick converted on a school-record 52-yard effort versus Akron. It ties as the eighth-longest field goal in Huskie history.

Freshman quarterback Chandler Harnish hooked up with fellow freshman Nathan Palmer on a 91-yard touchdown on a third down and 10 from the Huskies' nine-yard line in the third quarter. It was Palmer's first career catch, Harnish's first career touchdown pass and was the fifth-longest pass play in school history. It also qualifies as the 19th-longest scoring play ever at NIU. Dan Nicholson and Matt Simon combined on a 92-yard touchdown last year versus Central Michigan (9-29). Later in the game, Harnish and Palmer connected again for a 52-yard TD that gave the Huskies a 27-24 lead.

Nathan Palmer caught three passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns in his Huskie debut to record the highest receiving yardage game by an NIU player since Matt Simon garnered 205 yards versus Central Michigan a year ago (9-29). Palmer's total is the 13th-highest yardage number for a single game in school history.

Defensive end Larry English collected his first sack of the season to give him 24.5 for his career. He trails NIU all-time leader Cary Caliendo (1987-90) by 6.5 sacks.

Jerry Kill's, the 20th head coach in NIU history, started his Huskie tenure on the short end of a three-point loss to a Big Ten team. NIU head coaches are now 3-6 in their first games since the school joined the major college ranks in 1969. The last NIU head coach to win his debut was Jerry Pettibone in 1985.

Jerry Kill wasn't the only one on the NIU sidelines making his Huskie debut. Thirteen players also got into their first NIU game. They are, Kiaree Daniels, Pat Schiller, Mike Sobol, Me'co Brown, Willie Clark, Chandler Harnish, Mike Salerno, David Pratt, Trevor Olson, Tracy Wilson, Jason Schepler, Joe Pawlak and Nathan Palmer. Four players made their first career starts - Harnish (QB), Sobol (S), Olson (LT), Kyle Skarb (FB) - while Dan Keller made his first career start on offense. His previous start came as a defensive tackle versus Wisconsin last year.

More "firsts" for the 2008 Huskies - first completion: Harnish to Britt Davis for 11 yards on the first play of the second quarter (also Harnish's first career completion); first penalty: five-yard false start penalty on last play of the first quarter first touchdown: Justin Anderson, two-yard touchdown run at the 10:45 mark of the second quarter first field goal: Mike Salerno hit a 39-yard three-pointer with 0:55 seconds to go in the first half (also the first FG of Salerno's NIU career)

Chad Spann's blocked punt in the second quarter was his first as a Huskie and the team's first since last year's Idaho game (Sept. 22).

Justin Anderson's second-quarter touchdown was the 10th rushing TD of his NIU career.

-- NIU --



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