Northern Illinois downs EIU, 38-10


Published on September 11 2017 2:49 pm
Last Updated on September 11 2017 2:49 pm
Written by Millie Lange

DEKALB, Ill. – Northern Illinois converted two first half interceptions into touchdowns as the Huskies pulled away from Eastern Illinois on Saturday afternoon beating the Panthers, 38-10, at Huskie Stadium.

NIU improved to 1-1 on the season.  EIU fell to 1-1 and will host Illinois State in the Mid-America Classic next Saturday at O’Brien Field with a 2 pm kickoff.

EIU’s defense stonewalled NIU on the opening drive forcing a 3-and-out.  The Panthers then marched down the field and appeared to take a 3-0 lead as Nick Wilson hit a 37-yard field goal.  The points were wiped out by an EIU penalty and the Panthers came up short going for it on downs.

NIU broke through midway through the first quarter as on a third-and-long play, Daniel Santacaterina hit Spencer Tears for a 39-yard strike down the sideline at the 7:57 mark.  Santacaterina would finish the half 15-of-22 for 216 yards.  He ended the day passing for 252 yards.

EIU took advantage of a mishandled punt after the Panthers offense was shut down on the next drive.  Ben Bergeson recovered the loose ball giving EIU the ball at the NIU 29 yard line.  The Panthers would come away with a Wilson 20-yard field goal with 2:51 to play in the first quarter.

In the second quarter the Huskies defense turned two interceptions in to touchdowns as the Huskies jumped out to a 31-3 halftime lead.  Mycial Allen’s interception led to a Marcus Jones 3-yard score at 14:51.  Jones had a 1-yard run with 3:05 to play in the first half after Mykelti Williams had the second Huskies interception of the day.  Jones rushed for 63 yards for NIU.

Christian Blake caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Santacaterina and Christian Hagan banged home a 20-yard field goal to round out the first half NIU scoring.

David Johnson turned away an earlier Hagan field goal attempt in the half as the senior blocked a 39-yard attempt.  Levi Watson gave the Panthers a second blocked field goal in the third quarter as he was credited for knocking down a 30-yard attempt by Hagan.  It was the first blocked field goal by the Panthers since Oct. 13, 2012 when Pat Wertz had a blocked field goal against Jacksonville State.  
NIU added a short touchdown reception by Shane Wilmann with 1:34 to go in the third quarter to increase the lead to 38-3.  The score came on a long Huskies drive following a missed field goal by the Panthers.

EIU broke through with a touchdown with 8:01 in the fourth quarter as redshirt freshman Scotty Gilkey Jr scored on a 1-yard run.  Gilkey carried the ball eight times for 20 yards on the day.

Tray Mitchell, Nick Horne and Bradley Dewberry led EIU with seven tackles each.   Joe Caputo had an interception the third quarter for the EIU defense.  Antonio Jones-Davis had eight tackles to lead NIU.