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RedHawks fall 51-41 to Huskies

Photo by Lauren Olson
Photo by Lauren Olson

Despite a strong performance from quarterback Andrew Hendrix, the Miami University football team failed to grab a win against Northern Illinois University. The Huskies ran all over the RedHawks en route to a 51-41 Mid-American Conference victory.

"When you looked to the other end of the field, it didn't look like we picked sides very well at recess," head coach Chuck Martin said. "Not up front, at every position. Linebacker, at wide receiver at DB, at kicker, punter; they were bigger, stronger, faster."

The two teams combined for 1,172 yards of total offense. NIU accounted for 658 of that, with most of the damage coming on the ground.

NIU racked up 433 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 55 carries. Redshirt senior quarterback Drew Hare channeled his inner Jordan Lynch, picking up 180 yards and two scores on 17 carries. He also completed 12 of 16 passes for 185 yards and a TD.

"Hare's got great numbers this year," Martin said. "He's a great MAC quarterback. I don't know that he's one of the best players in the country like [Lynch] was. And not one of the best players in the MAC, one of the best players in the country."

Redshirt senior running back Cameron Stingily picked up 134 yards and a score on 23 carries. Five different Huskies recorded rushing touchdowns.

"They're a good football team, like I told the guys, we didn't play good on defense and we can't be proud of that," Martin said. "But, Northern Illinois scored 50 on a lot of people in our league for a long time. We're not ready for primetime yet."

Hendrix and the Miami did what they could to keep the 'Hawks in the game, but it wasn't enough. Hendrix picked up his second MAC East Offensive Player of the Week after getting it done through the air and on the ground. He completed 23 of 42 passes for 346 yards and two TDs and picking up 72 yards and three scores on 14 carries.

"Andrew had a complete game, mentally and physically," Martin said. "He really did a great job, well beyond his numbers. Physically, everybody saw how dominant he was. But he checked us into so many good pass plays, so many good protections, so many good run plays. He managed our run game and our protections so well that he kept giving us a chance every down for success."

Hendrix's top target was senior wide out David Frazier, who caught seven passes for 87 yards. Sophomore wide receiver Rokeem Williams caught five passes for 54 yards and a score. Senior athlete Dawan Scott returned after missing the past four games with an ankle injury. He picked up 64 yards on the ground with one touchdown on nine carries. His return was huge for Miami.

"'How much do you miss Dawan,' well you can stop asking that question; it's a big deal and he wasn't even a 100 percent," Martin said. "But moving him at tailback really gives us a chance to have a little bit of balance and gives us more of an explosive threat back there."

Sophomore safety Heath Harding played well for the RedHawks, recording a career-high 16 tackles. Harding's 15 solo tackles are the tied for the fourth most in 'Hawk history and the most since 1991.

Miami led 7-6 early in the first quarter, but the Huskies took control soon after, taking a 37-14 lead late in the second quarter. The 'Hawks battle back to cut the lead to 10 in the fourth quarter, but failed to get any closer.

"Everybody says 'well, you should be winning' but I don't really feel like we should be winning," Martin said. "I feel like we're kinda good enough to be close, but we're not really good enough to be winning. If you take [No.] 12 out of there, we're losing 51-10 and we're no better than we were a year ago. So, it's a little frustrating, but that's where we're at."