Independence Bowl Postgame Notes
Dec. 29, 2008
***Five of Northern Illinois' seven defeats in 2008 came by margins of seven points or less. The Huskies held an opponent to 17 points or less for the ninth time this season while the Huskie defense actually gave up only 10 points to La Tech on Sunday as one of the scores came on a kickoff return.
***The Huskies tied their season high with three turnovers with a fumble and two interceptions in the Independence Bowl. In their only previous three turnover game of the season, NIU defeated Indiana State.
***Quarterback Chandler Harnish finishes the 2008 season as the Huskies' leading rusher (carries and yards) to become the first quarterback since Stacey Robinson in 1990 to lead the team in rushing. Harnish finished his redshirt freshman season with 539 yards on 118 carries, the lowest total for a Huskie leading rusher since Vince Smith led NIU with 448 yards rushing in 1976.
***Northern Illinois held Louisiana Tech to just a 2-of-14 mark on third down conversions, the lowest percentage by an NIU opponent this season.
***The Huskie offensive line, with a lot of help from QB Chandler Harnish, held an opponent without a sack for the seventh time in 13 games this season.
***Northern Illinois out-gained Louisiana Tech in rushing, passing and total offense yards, marking just the second time that NIU has gained more yards than its opponent in a loss. NIU also gained more passing and total yards than Western Michigan in a 29-26 defeat.
***Matt Simon is now 0-for-2 passing in his career after an attempt on the Huskies' first drive fell incomplete. Simon's first attempt came a year ago versus Kent State.
***FB Kyle Skarb recorded his second career touchdown catch in the first quarter. Skarb's touchdown was his first since the Eastern Michigan game (9-27) and was his first catch since the Toledo contest (Oct. 18).
***Louisiana Tech's kickoff return touchdown was the first against the Huskies since Sept. 29, 2007 when Central Michigan's Antonio Brown brought a kickoff back 90 yards for a score.
***NIU WR Marcus Perez became the first Huskie player in school history to participate in three bowl games when he entered the game in the second quarter. Perez was a true freshman in 2004 when he caught two passes for 31 yards in the Silicon Valley Classic and he started for NIU at wide receiver in the Poinsettia Bowl contest versus TCU but did not catch a pass. He did return three kickoffs in the game. On Sunday, he caught two passes for 44 yards and finished the season as the Huskies' leading receiver (34 catches for 480 yards).
***For the 10th time in 13 games this season and for the 20th time in NIU's last 25 games, Larry English recorded a tackle for loss as the senior added to his school record total with his 63rd career tackle for loss.
***DE Jake Coffman, who made his first career start at defensive end, responded with his second quarterback sack of the season in the first quarter.
***Just prior to half, sophomore nose guard Mike Krause recorded the first blocked field goal by an NIU player since Quince Holman blocked a Northwestern field goal on Sept. 10, 2005. That is a span of 47 games between Huskie field goal blocks. Later in the game, Krause recovered his second fumble of the season.
***Andy Dittbenner punted five times for 197 yards and a 39.4 average in the game to finish his career with 209 punts for 8,337 yards in his career. He ranks fifth on the NIU career list for punts and is fifth all-time in punting yards.
***Northern Illinois dropped to 1-3 in bowl games as a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team and is 3-5 in bowls all-time.
***NIU fell to 1-6 all-time versus Louisiana Tech and is now 1-11 all-time in games played in Louisiana.
***Huskie head coach Jerry Kill lost in his first ever bowl game.
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