April 12, 2014
DeKALB, Ill. - For the first time in four Friday night scrimmages, the Northern Illinois University offense was a regular visitor to the end zone during the Huskies' 12th spring practice session at Huskie Stadium.
While the defense has had the better of the Friday night scrimmages through most of the spring as the offense worked in a host of young players, this week NIU quarterbacks Drew Hare and Anthony Maddie led the Huskies to at least seven scores.
Senior tailback Akeem Daniels recorded two of those on touchdown runs of approximately 18 and 23 yards, with the latter play concluding a 98-yard drive. In addition to Daniels, Maddie scored on a seven-yard run, Cameron Stingily went in from four yards and sophomore Joel Bouagnon added a rushing TD. Newcomer Kenny Golladay caught a 30-plus yard touchdown pass from Drew Hare and Aregeros Turner scored on an end around to round out the scoring.
The defense had its moments, too, though. Safety Marlon Moore, linebacker Michael Santacaterina and defensive end Matt Baltimore all recorded interceptions and the defense twice made fourth down stops during two-minute drills. The defense also stopped the offense on three consecutive drives late in the workout and then forced a long field goal attempt, which was missed.
"It was good to see the offense tonight, but I like the way the defense stepped up in the end, especially in two-minute," said NIU Head Coach Rod Carey
. "The offense bounced back well tonight. They scored, they drove the ball downfield. They were only stopped a couple of times late in the scrimmage and then in two-minute. When you are in practice 12, you see it come together a little more. The quarterback play tonight helped and we got some people back out there - Da'Ron Brown
worked tonight, Juwan Brescacin
was back - that made a difference. They were connecting and you saw some good offensive play."
Huskie running backs Daniels, Stingily, Bouagnon, Jordan Huff and Draco Smith all looked impressive at times, with Daniels flashing some of the speed and moves that he exhibited as a junior in helping NIU to the Discover Orange Bowl. Daniels sat out last season with a foot injury.
"Akeem is getting his feet back under him, he's doing things better," Carey said. "We're getting some guys back but these reps this springhave been invaluable for the young guys. They are running with the ones and getting basically all the reps."
The third, and oldest, member of the Huskies' quarterback rotation, Matt McIntosh, sat out Friday's scrimmage with a minor injury, leaving Hare and Maddie to split the reps under center. The competition to fill Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch's spot continues to be a three man race, Carey said.
"I thought the quarterbacks did a good job. Drew had a couple of turnovers, but I liked the way he bounced back from those plays."
Friday night's workout closed out the fourth week of spring football practices for the Huskies. NIU will practice Tuesday and Thursday morning before closing out spring with the Huskie Bowl on Saturday, April 19 at 3 p.m. in the stadium. The team has been divided into Cardinal and Black squads and will work separately for the last 15 minutes of practice on Tuesday and Thursday.
"It will be a fun event for the guys," Carey said. "There's already some chatter back and forth in the building. I think they're looking forward to it."
Prior to the Huskie Bowl, which begins at 3 p.m. Saturday in Huskie Stadium fans are invited to come out to get a taste of "The Yard," the new official tailgate area of NIU Football. Located on the West Lawn of the stadium, The Yard will be open from 12:30-2:30 pm and features a Kids Zone, beer garden, live DJ, the NIU men's basketball and volleyball teams and a visit from Huskie mascot Mission. Fatty's is providing catering in the large tent ($20/$15 on Saturday, $15/$10 pre-registered) and fans will hear from Sean T. Frazier and Rod Carey. Admission to The Yard and to the Huskie Bowl is FREE.
NIU Football 2014 football season tickets are on sale now. Click here to purchase. A season ticket for all five 2014 Huskie home games, including the season opener on Thursday, Aug. 28, Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 11 and the MAC West rivalry game versus Toledo Nov. 11, is just $110 for the general public and $95 for NIU Faculty and Staff, NIU Alumni Association members and senior citizens
Fans are encouraged to renew by the Early Signing Period (April 30) in order to be guaranteed the right to buy tickets to NIU's game at Northwestern on Sept. 6. The DEADLINE for season ticket renewals is May 30.
Season tickets can be ordered online at www.NIUHuskies.com, by phone at 815-753-PACK (7225) or in person at the NIU Convocation Center Ticket Office in DeKalb.
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