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Rockets lose to Northern Illinois 65-30

Published: Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Updated: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 23:11

Northern Illinois scored early and often in a 65-30 victory over the Rockets Tuesday night and now controls the Mid-American Conference West Division for a place in the MAC Championship on Dec. 3 at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich.

"I said [if we fall behind] in a championship caliber game we are going to be in some trouble," UT head coach Tim Beckman said. "That's what happened, we fell down 28-0 and we kept fighting back but we weren't able to do the things we needed to do to be successful."

The Huskies were led by quarterback Chandler Harnish who was 11-for-16 for 162 yards and one touchdown. The junior also led the team in rushing with 149 yards and added one score on 13 carries

Senior running back Chad Spann added 74 yards on the ground for the Huskies and three touchdowns.

NIU was 8-of-12 on third down conversions and controlled the ball for over 37 minutes.

In his first career start, Rockets quarterback Terrance Owens completed 18-of-38 passes for 186 yards, one touchdown and one interception and added 45 yards on the ground.

Junior running back Adonis Thomas rushed for a career high 152 yards and two touchdowns.

Sophomore Eric Page hauled a team-high seven catches for 67 yards and one touchdown.

The teams would combine for a total of 964 total yards, with the Huskies compiling 584 yards of their own.

NIU opened the first quarter with a 14 play 74-yard drive capped off by a Chad Spann one-yard touchdown run on the Huskies' first possession to grab a 7-0 lead.

The UT offense sputtered in the first quarter, gaining just 18 yards on seven plays and was 0-for-2 on third down conversions.

The Huskies added to their lead with 11:39 to play in the second quarter after NIU freshman Akeem Daniels broke through the line for the 12-yard touchdown run to bring the score to 14-7.

Toledo responded with a drive into Husky territory, led by the pitch-and-catch duo of Owens and Page, but a missed field goal attempt by junior Bill Claus gave Northern Illinois the ball back on the 20-yard line.

NIU drove the ball right back down the field on the UT defense as Harnish hit Nathan Palmer on a 33-yard touchdown pass to give the Huskies a 21-0 lead with 5:43 to play in the first half.

Northern Illinois tacked on another score with 20 seconds left in the first half when Harnish slipped by multiple UT defenders on 28-yard scamper to boast a 28-0 lead at the break.

Harnish had 198 yards of total offense and two scores in the first half alone as the Husky offense outgained Toledo 295-111 and was 6-of-7 on third down conversions.

Page hauled in five of the six completed passes by Owens for 51 yards in the first half. The Rockets had five penalties for 55 yards and just four rushes for 46 yards in the opening half.

The teams would combine for 51 points in the third quarter, highlighted by a 83-yard kick return by NIU's Tommy Davis and a 60-yard rush by Thomas. The Rockets faced a 33-point deficit entering the final quarter with the score at 56-23.

Northern Illinois added a field goal in the final quarter to cap off the victory.

The Rockets return to the Glass Bowl next Wed. Nov. 17 to face archrival Bowling Green at 8 p.m. on ESPN 2.


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