March 29, 2014
DeKALB, Ill. - A Northern Illinois University defense filled with new faces had its way against an NIU offense playing without many of its top skill players Friday night as the Huskies scrimmaged for nearly 75 minutes at Huskie Stadium.
Both the first and second team units were on the field for 40-50 plays as Head Coach Rod Carey put his Huskies through the first extended live scrimmage of 2014 spring practices.
The Huskie offense was unable to reach the end zone until quarterback Drew Hare hit redshirt freshman tight end Ryan Stendler to the two-yard line and sophomore tailback Joel Bouagnon ran in for the score on the next play to close out the night's action.
The scrimmage began with third down situations and featured the only plays of the night for returning 1,000-yard rusher Cameron Stingily. After converting several third down runs, Stingily retired to the sidelines, leaving Bouagnon, redshirt freshman Jordan Huff and Alex Morrow to handle the remainder of the carries.
"We rested Cameron and Akeem tonight, but all three running backs out there did some good work tonight," Carey said. "They ran hard; it was good to see Jordan Huff back out there healthy."
Despite good work by the young tailbacks and a busy night for sophomore receiver Chad Beebe, the Huskie offense stalled after advancing inside the 10-yard line several times.
"The offense didn't finish drives," Carey said. "They were good at the very end but poor before that. I thought the defense played really well. They got some key stops, forced a couple of turnovers and stopped the offense until the very end there."
Among the young defenders who caught Carey's eye on Friday night were redshirt freshman defensive back Brandon Mayes, sophomore linebacker Sean Folliard and defensive end Cameron Clinton-Earl.
"The defense definitely worked together as a group with a lot of new faces, which was good to see," Carey said. "We used Brandon Mayes at both cornerback and safety and I saw him make some plays. Sean Folliard played well. It was good to see Cameron Clinton-Earl out there again."
With six of NIU's 15 spring football practices complete, Carey said watching film of the extended workout can only help his team.
"It gives us a good chunk of film to evaluate," Carey said. "When we look at the film, we'll have a good idea of who steps up when the lights are on, when you're playing in live situations.It was good to get out here on a nice night, no wind and go in live situations. We wanted to get both the ones and the twos 40-50 plays and we were probably right in that margin."
NIU returns to the practice field Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. and will practice every Tuesday and Thursday morning. The Huskies' final practice will be the annual Huskie Bowl (spring game) scheduled for Saturday, April 19 at 3 p.m. at Huskie Stadium. The team will be "drafted" into Cardinal and Black units. Prior to the game, fans are invited to get a preview of some of the game day activities planned for 2014 by joining other NIU fans in "The Yard" at Huskie Stadium on the West Lawn. The Yard will be the official pregame tailgate area for all Huskie fans in 2014 and is free and open to the public with food and beverages available for purchase, a Kids' Zone, live music and more.
More details on the Huskie Bowl, where fans will also be able to renew their 2014 football season ticket and Huskie Athletic Fund donations, and attend a special postgame reception with the NIU coaches (providing they have renewed), will be available soon on NIUHuskies.com.
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