Northern Illinois and Drew Hare had a big second half to defeat the Northwestern Wildcats 23-15. It was a scoreless first half with 38 points coming in the final 30 minutes.
Neither team really got anything going on offense in the first half. The play of the game came on Paris Logan's one handed, over the shoulder interception on a Trevor Siemian pass into the end zone. It was a truly fantastic play by Logan.
NIU did have a chance to grab the first points late in the second quarter. They got down to the Northwestern 8 yard line, but Tyler Wedel missed his field from 25 yards out to leave the game scoreless in the first half.
The third quarter provided points on NIU's first drive with Wedel redeeming himself. He hit a 32 yard field goal to make it a 3-0 lead shortly after three minutes had been played.
It took two drives for Northwestern to respond, but they did with Trevor Siemian completing hitting four passes in a row and finding Kyle Prater for the 19 yard touchdown. NIU came right back down the field with a touchdown of their own. Drew Hare found Da'Ron Brown for an 18 yard touchdown and NIU recapture the lead at 10-7.
The defense settled down a bit, but Northwestern got back into NIU territory early in the 4th quarter. Siemian was hit by Sean Folliard on fourth and six and fumbled to end the drive.
Five plays later, Hare threw a bomb to Brown for their second connection and NIU had a 16-7 lead after Wedel had his extra point blocked. NIU would add another score after Chad Beebe (son of Don Beebe) returned a punt 36 yards to the Northwestern 22. Hare capped the drive off himself by running in for a 4 yard touchdown and making it a 23-7 score.
Northwestern got a late touchdown from Zack Oliver's 54 yard pass to Pierre Youngblood-Ary. Oliver then threw the two point conversion to Cameron Dickerson to make it a 23-15 game. However, NIU recovered the onside kick and it was settled after that.
Drew Hare went 6 of 10 for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns in the second half. Anthony Maddie went 3 of 4 for 36 yards while Matt McIntosh went 4 of 9 for 35 yards. Hare had 11 carries for 31 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Maddie had 20 yards rushing on 4 carries while McIntosh finished with 17 yards on 4 carries.
Akeem Daniels led the Huskies with 81 yards on 16 carries. Cameron Stingily contributed 46 yards on 6 carries in his first action of the season after an injury. The Huskies had 221 yards rushing for the game.
Da'Ron Brown caught 6 passes for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns to help the Huskies.
Northwestern got a solid performance out of Trevor Siemian with 27 of 41 passing for 268 yards and an interception. Their rushing attack was poor though. Justin Jackson had 12 carries for 52 yards and Treyvon Green only mustered 26 yards on 10 carries. Kyle Prater led the Wildcats with 7 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Northern Illinois (2-0) now has a strong chance of entering MAC play with a winning record. The Huskies travel to UNLV next Saturday before another road trip to Arkansas to take on the Razorbacks on September 20.
Northwestern is very close to full panic mode. They have a bye week before facing Western Illinois on September 20. It is a tough way back to bowl eligibility after this 0-2 start and the Big 10 schedule they have.