September 14, 2002
Northern Illinois University at University of Wisconsin / Madison, WI
/ UW's Camp Randall Stadium / Non-Conference Game / Saturday / September
#18 WISCONSIN 24, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 21
BAD FOURTH QUARTER
BREAKS COST NIU FOOTBALL A 24-21 LOSS TO NO. 18 WISCONSIN
MADISON, WI - A final drive marred by penalties gave the No. 18 University
of Wisconsin a 24-21 victory over the Northern Illinois University football
team, here on Saturday (September 14). The Badgers scored the winner touchdown
with 1:21 remaining in the game on a two-yard run by UW quarterback Brook
The Huskies fall to
1-2 on the season as they drop their second game in a row and second-straight
loss to Wisconsin, dating back to a controversial 18-17 victory on September
26, 1992, while UW improves to 4-0.
"It's too bad,
it's really too bad," NIU head coach Joe Novak said. "They
(NIU) played their butts off. As far as I'm concerned, they won the football
With 5:55 remaining
in the game, Northern Illinois regained the lead when tailback Michael
Turner (North Chicago) crossed the goal line for his second touchdown
of the day - part of his game-high 160 yards - to put the Huskies ahead
22-17. Turner's touchdown gave NIU its first advantage since placekicker
Steve Azar (Colorado Springs, CO / Highlands Ranch) put NIU on
the board first with a 34-yard field goal at the 6:33 mark of the first
On the ensuing Badger
drive, the Huskie defense, which limited UW to 275 yards of total offense
to NIU's 455 yards, stopped Wisconsin with a pair of sacks by linebacker
Larry Williams (Chicago / Dunbar), forcing a punt. Even though
Northern Illinois went three and out, punter Jimmy Erwan (Mastic
Beach, NY / Floyd) had apparently pushed the Badgers back to their 36-yard
line with a 63-yard launch.
That's when a series
of penalties put Wisconsin in a position to win the game. During the play,
NIU was flagged for holding, forcing Erwan to punt again, but this time
UW got the ball on the 50-yard line. The Badgers pushed the ball to the
Huskies 34-yard line where they were faced with third and ten. As Bollinger's
pass fell short of running back Anthony Davis, the Huskies were called
for pass interference, resulting in a first down. Two plays later NIU
was flagged for pass interference once again, giving UW the ball on the
two yard line where Bollinger took it in for the winning score.
"I didn't like
them," Novak said of the calls. "For a team not penalized very
often, we sure went the wrong way a lot of the time. We got it (the punt)
out of there! A sixty-yard punt and we get called for holding. I've been
in this for 34 years and I've never seen that."
In a game where the
Huskies could not afford to make very little mistakes, it was their miscues
that kept Wisconsin in the game. Two of the Badgers' three touchdowns
were a result of a pair of Northern Illinois' four turnovers. Late in
the first half, split end Dan Sheldon (Elgin / Burlington Central)
took a 30-yard reverse to the UW three yard line, only to be stripped
of the ball with the Badgers recovering it on the one-yard line.
Wisconsin gave the
ball right back as cornerback Randee Drew (Milwaukee, WI / Nicole)
got NIU's first takeaway of the season with an interception. Unfortunately,
Wisconsin got the ball back in the next series on a fumble by quarterback
Josh Haldi (Madison, OH). Nine plays later UW was on the board
with a one-yard Bollinger bootleg.
looked like it was going to go into the locker room down only a point
as Azar's 37-yard field goal with 33 seconds remaining made it a 7-6 game
in favor of the Badgers. However, Wisconsin marched right down the field
in four plays as Scott Campbell's 29-yard field goal gave UW a 10-6 halftime
The Huskies marched
65 yards to open the second half to set up Azar's third field goal of
the day. Turned supplied most of the yardage on the opening drive as he
gained 51 of his game-high 160 yards. NIU out-gained the Badgers 182-68
on the ground, including 49 by the Badgers' running back Davis. But the
Doak Walker candidate found the end zone after Haldi was picked off by
Jim Leonhard at the Northern Illinois 18-yard line. Three plays later
Davis took the ball in from the nine-yard line to make it a 17-9 contest.
Not buckling in front
a crowd of 77, 460 at Camp Randall Stadium, the fifth largest crowd NIU
has played in front of, the Huskies stormed down the field to get their
first touchdown of the game. Turner capped a six-play, 79-yard drive with
a three-yard run to pull NIU within 17-15, but the two-point conversion
pass from Haldi fell incomplete.
good," Novak added. "He had 983 yards as a freshman back up.
I asked him this week how big his shoulders were because he had to carry
the load. He wants the ball, you can't tell me hat there isn't a tailback
in the country that doesn't want the ball."
After a two-week absence
from Huskie Stadium, Northern Illinois returns home to face Western Illinois
University on Saturday, September 21. The Huskies and Leathernecks kickoff
at 6:35 p.m. CST on Business and Agriculture Night.
---Copy by Michael