End of Wyoming Touchdown spoils NIU’s comeback
DEKALB, Illinois – The University of Northern Illinois Huskies erased a 26-point second-half deficit, but a Wyoming touchdown with less than two minutes left was enough to help the Cowboys escape with a win. from 50-43 Saturday afternoon (September 11) at Huskie Stadium. Harrison waylee (Johnston, Iowa / Urbandale) rushed for a peak of 179 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns.
“We need to play cleaner as a football team,” said NIU head coach Thomas Hammock. “The players win games and the coaches lose them. This loss is for me; we have to react, we have to come back and we will. I love the resilience of our guys, they competed for four quarters, they didn’t not let the score affect them one way or another, they just get ready for the next play.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them, their level of focus and discipline. We have a good football team; Wyoming is a good football team. Let’s take nothing away from them. Wyoming was a football team. very, very tough. We’re proud to be tough, they were a good team, I have a lot of respect for Coach (Craig) Bohl and the program he runs. “
The Huskies fell to 1-1 over the season with the loss while Wyoming improved to 2-0.
An interception return for a touchdown by Chad Muma of Wyoming gave the Cowboys a 42-16 lead with six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
NIU responded immediately as the Huskies only needed four plays to go 70 yards, capped by a 40-yard touchdown pass from Lombardi Rockies (Clive, Iowa / Valley / Michigan State) to Trayvon Rudolph (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee), reducing Wyoming’s advance to 42-22.
Lombardi finished the contest 19 of 36 in the air for 233 yards and a touchdown.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Wyoming returned the ball to the downs and, four plays later, Waylee turned the corner to the left side and ran 75 yards for a score as the Huskies reduced the Cowboys’ advantage. to two scores with 12:48 remaining in the fourth quarter. It was the longest scrum run for a Huskie since Anthony Maddie totaled 75 yards against Ball State in 2016.
Just 13 seconds later, the Huskies were back in the end zone. Wyoming mishandled a pass behind the line of scrimmage on the first play of their drive and Ray Thomas (Racine, Wis./Washington Park) pounced on it to give the ball to NIU on Wyoming 14. Waylee found the end zone in the next game. as the Huskies reduced Wyoming’s lead to 42-36.
The NIU defense forced a three-and-out, recovering the ball in good position on the field in Wyoming 45. Five minutes and 10 games later, Clint ratkovich (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee/Western Illinois) crossed the goal line for his third score of the day and, after the point after de John richardson (Orland Park, Ill./Brother Rice), the Huskies took their first lead of the game, 43-42, with 4:56 to go.
Ratkovich ran 63 yards on six carries, largely on a 52-yard rush that set NIU’s first scoring, to go with his three touchdowns.
Wyoming came back on top on a 9-yard touchdown from Sean Chambers with 1:35 left. The Cowboys’ key practice play came second and nine at NIU 34 when Chambers connected with Isaiah Neyor for 30 yards. The game was initially deemed incomplete but, upon examination, the Cowboy catcher was deemed to have stepped in bounds and retained possession, giving Wyoming the first and the NIU goal four. Three games later, Chambers scored to help the Cowboys escape with the win.
Chambers had 13 of 23 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns, Xazavian Valladay ran for 101 yards on 21 carries.
Cole tucker (DeKalb, Ill./DeKalb) caught a team-high with six catches for 72 yards for the Huskies, Tyrice Richie (Chicago, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoore/Dodge City CC) had five receptions for 40 yards.
The Cowboys took a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter. Titus Swen and Valladay each had rushing touchdowns as Chambers connected with Neyor for a 33-yard score.
Ratkovich scored his first touchdown of the day by a yard in the middle of the second quarter before Wyoming responded as Chambers connected with Neyor for the second time to give the Cowboys a 28-10 lead in the mid -time.
In the first practice after intermission, Ratkovich won his second 1-yard touchdown of the game, but Wyoming scored the next 14 points on a 5-yard run from Neyor and Muma’s interception, giving the Cowboys their most great advance of the afternoon.
Next week, NIU will travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan. The game against the Wolverines is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. CT and will be televised on Big Ten Network.