Falcons unable to stop NIU backup

Elliott Schreiner and Elliott Schreiner

With quarterback Josh Haldi not playing and starting tailback A.J. Harris nursing an injury at halftime, it appeared the Bowling Green football team had the upper hand Friday night in DeKalb.

The Falcons offense looked efficient and held Harris and the Huskies’ running attack to 75 yards.

To say the least, the Falcons were in the driver’s seat and everyone watching the game may have counted out the Huskies. After all, back up tailback Garrett Wolfe lost two yards on his only carry, which was a goal line stuff for BG.

Little did everyone know, this was Wolfe’s time to shine.

The 5-7, 174 pound sophomore cut around, between and through the Bowling Green defense while amassing 204 yards in the second half on 31 carries to help Northern to a 34-17 win to open MAC play.

“We thought A.J. was going to be able to play,” Northern coach Joe Novak said. “But little Garrett went in there and boy did he do a good job.”

Wolfe rarely saw action in the first half, but used the spotlight to his advantage.

“I’ve just been waiting to play,” he said. “It’s unfortunate it came when A.J. got hurt, but no one supports me more than A.J. and I also support him.”

Harris had a good cause to support in the second half, as Wolfe found the endzone on three occasions. His first touchdown run was an off tackle play where Wolfe went virtually untouched on his way to the endzone.

Wolfe followed that run up with a 21 yard scamper on the same designed play. This time there was some controversy.

As he neared the goalline, he was met by BG defenders who jarred the ball loose at the one yard line. The ball went out of bounds in the endzone and would have been ruled a touchback had the referees saw what happened.

Regardless, the touchdown went to Wolfe, who was certain it was a touchdown.

“Yeah, I had the ball,” he said with a chuckle.

Although that run gave NIU a 14-point cushion it was not as big as any of his runs on NIU’s drive to start the fourth quarter.

Northern, looking to grind some minutes off the clock, got what they were looking for with a 16 play, 91 yard drive that put the game away for good.

Wolfe ran the ball 14 times for 75 yards on that drive and capped it off with an eight yard touchdown scamper. It was the best example of the whole game of the Falcons’ inability to stop Wolfe.

“He’s a great back,” BG linebacker Jovon Burkes said. “You think he’s small, but he just stays low.”

“I’ll give him his props,” BG coach Gregg Brandon said. “He’s low to the ground and quick. If you don’t tackle a quality back like that, you’re going to have problems.”

Not a bad day’s work for a backup.