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Northern cruises past BG on ESPN2 in DeKalb, 34-17

Receiving an enormous boost from their backup running back Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois pounded their running attack at BG to seal their victory.

Tied at halftime, both teams were looking for a spark to put them over the edge. Due to a left ankle sprain for NIU starting running back A.J. Harris, the Huskies turned to Wolfe, who had one carry for negative two yards in the first half.

He used his speed and agility to torture the Falcon defense, which tackled poorly all game, running for three second half touchdowns.

“We just didn’t tackle,” said BG head coach Gregg Brandon. “That little #1 (Wolfe), I’ll give him his props. He’s a little scat back. He was low to the ground and quick.”

An all-around solid performance from the Huskies guided them to victory as they knocked off the Falcons 34-17 Friday night on Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium.

“We were dominated in every phase of this football game,” Brandon said. “(Northern Illinois) coach (Joe) Novak and his team took it to us. We got some work to do and that’s evident.”

With eight and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Huskies handed off to Wolfe, who darted to his left and outran the Falcon secondary for a 42-yard touchdown.

After Shaun Suisham made a 27-yard field goal to put the Falcons within a touchdown, Wolfe bounced another run left and sprinted 21 yards to the end zone.

Replays showed he fumbled the ball at about the one-yard line, where it rolled out of the end zone. That would have resulted in a touchback and first down for BG, but the officials missed the call.

The Huskies had the ball at their own nine with 14:47 left in the game and the Falcons desperately needing a stop on defense when Wolfe took the game over. He carried the ball 14 times for 75 yards on the drive, capping it off with and eight-yard touchdown run up the middle.

Wolfe, who came into the game with three touchdowns on the season, finished with 202 yards rushing on 31 carries.

The Huskies came out gunning to start the second half, as Phil Horvath connected with Dan Sheldon for a 41-yard pass down to the BG 26 yard line. That play led to a 25-yard field goal from Chris Nendick to put NIU up 10-7, and they led the rest of the way.

“We just didn’t respond from the start of the second half and then (the game) snowballed on us,” Brandon said.

The Falcons jumped out to a quick lead as Omar Jacobs ran for a one-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game.

After holding NIU to a three-and-out on the ensuing drive, the BG offense marched down the field, but were stopped on a third-and-two from the Huskies 23 when Jacobs was tackled for a six-yard loss.

Suisham then came on to attempt a 41-yard field goal. NIU got a great rush and blocked the kick, which gave the Huskies the ball at their own 24.

The block got the home crowd into the game and prevented BG from taking a favorable lead early in the game.

“We need to be able to overcome that kind of stuff,” Brandon said.

The Falcons were their own worst enemies at times.

After Wolfe’s first touchdown, B.J. Lane returned the kickoff 39 yards to the BG 44. BG drove the ball downfield and had first and goal from the NIU one-yard line when they were called for illegal formation, then delay of game to put the ball back to the 10. They were unable to find the end zone from there and settled for three points.

“At times we moved the ball at will,” Jacobs said. “We basically killed ourselves.”

“There’s absolutely no excuse for that,” Brandon said. “We should’ve got seven points down there. We need to become a disciplined football team. Until we get that figured out, we’re going to struggle.”

Falcon Notes:

Running back P.J. Pope was a bright spot as he carried the ball 16 times for 94 yards and had three receptions for 28 yards … Jacobs finished the game 29 of 42 with 275 yards passing and ran for 38 yards … Safety T.J. Carswell led the team in tackles with 13 … BG’s solid 142 yards on the ground was overshadowed by NIU’s running game, which finished with 292 yards.

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