Huskies Excel on Both Sides of Ball in 50-6 Win Over EMU

GO HUSKIES DeMarcus Grady scored three touchdowns to help NIU defeat the Eagles on Thursday night.
DeMarcus Grady scored three touchdowns to help NIU defeat the Eagles on Thursday night.

Nov. 5, 2009

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DeKALB - Tommy Davis got Northern Illinois off to a running start, and the Huskies never stopped in a 50-6 win over Eastern Michigan Thursday night at Huskie Stadium.

Davis returned the game's opening kick-off 86-yards for a touchdown, the first of its kind since Michael Turner took a kick-off to the house in 2002. The Huskie offense followed Davis' lead, totaling 537 yards of total offense, including 418 on the ground in the rout.

In the first half alone, NIU tailback Chad Spann rushed for touchdowns of 65 and 79 yards on his first two touches of the night, and Landon Cox caught scores of 30 and 31 yards from DeMarcus Grady. By the time the teams went to the locker rooms, Northern Illinois had scored 37 points, tied for the seventh-most in a half in Huskie history. The Eagles mustered just six points in the game, despite three trips to the red zone.

The Huskies' first offensive touchdown nearly never happened. A roughing the punter penalty on fourth-and-two kept the Huskies' first drive going. Northern Illinois cashed in on the next play with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Grady to Cox to go up 13-3 less than eight minutes into the game.

On the ensuing possession, EMU's Alex Gillett connected on a 48-yard pass to Kinsman Thomas on third-and-14. The completion was followed by a pass interference penalty against NIU, keying a 78-yard Eagle drive. But Eastern Michigan failed to get into the endzone after Tracy Wilson broke up a sure touchdown pass, forcing the Eagles to settle for a field goal, cutting the lead to 13-6.

But the ground attack continued for Northern Illinois, as Spann needed just one try to score his 14th touchdown of the season. On a play designed for the middle, Spann right into the pile before cutting to the sideline for a 65-yard run, at the time, it was the longest of his career.

The Huskies kept piling on, as Spann took his second touch of the game 79 yards to the endzone, a new career high. Spann's 15th rushing touchdown and 16th total score of the year increased the lead to 24. Grady and Cox would connect once more for a 31-yard touchdown to put Northern Illinois up 37-6 heading into the locker room.

In the second half, the Northern Illinois defense mirrored the success of the Huskie offense of the first two quarters. NIU held Eastern Michigan to just 30 yards of total offense in the second half, and the Eagles never advanced further than their own 38-yard line. Led by Cory Hanson with two, the Huskies racked-up nine tackles-for-loss including two sacks in the game.

Spann and Grady each totaled more than 100 yards rushing for the second straight game. Spann finished the day with a career-best 175 yards, while Grady ran for 104 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

Northern Illinois returns to the field Thursday Nov. 12 to host Ball State in the battle for the Bronze Stalk. Kick-off is set 5 p.m. for the game, which will be nationally televised on ESPNU.




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