DeKALB, Ill. – Despite amassing 514 yards of total offense and 41 points, it was not enough as the Miami University football team (1-7; 1-3 Mid-American Conference) came up short at Northern Illinois University (5-2; 2-1 MAC) on Saturday night at Huskie Stadium, 51-41.
Senior quarterback Andrew Hendrix accounted for five of the RedHawks’ six touchdowns, throwing for two and rushing for three others. Hendrix finished the day with 418 yards of total offense, racking up 346 through the air and another 72 on the ground. He completed 23-of-42 passes with no interceptions and incurred just one sack, a drastic improvement from last week’s nine sacks.
Sophomore defensive back Heath Harding amassed a career-high and game-best 16 tackles, including 15 solo stops. His 15 solo tackles tied for fourth on Miami’s single-game list and are the most since Curt McMillan’s 15 solo tackles against Bowling Green in 1991. Junior linebacker Joe Donlan also had double-figure tackles with 12.
NIU took a 6-0 lead on a 6-yard rushing touchdown with a missed extra point at the 10:00 mark of the first quarter. On the following drive, the RedHawks claimed a 7-6 advantage when Hendrix hit sophomore wide receiver Rokeem Williams on a 24-yard passing touchdown at the 6:28 mark as junior kicker Kaleb Patterson converted the PAT.
Just over two minute later the Huskies kicked a 28-yard field goal to post a 9-7 edge and a lead they would not relinquish. NIU tacked on two rushing touchdowns, one for 43 yards late in the first quarter and another for 1 yard at the 10:55 mark of the second quarter to jump out to a 23-7 lead.
Miami shrunk the gap when senior running back Dawan Scott took the ball in from 6 yards out with 7:03 to go in the first half. Patterson’s extra point put Miami within nine, 23-14. The Huskies added another pair of touchdowns to their tally over the last six minutes of the opening half to push their lead to 37-14, scoring on a 61-yard pass and a 1-yard run.
The RedHawks finished the first half scoring, covering 65 yards in nine plays over 2:23, when freshman wide receiver Sam Martin hauled in a 7-yard pass from Hendrix in the end zone with 27 seconds remaining. Patterson’s extra point put Miami within 16 going into the half, 37-21.
Miami opened the second-half scoring when Hendrix ran the ball in from 4 yards out at the 6:21 mark of the third quarter. Patterson’s PAT again put the RedHawks within single digits of the Huskies, 37-28. It was the only points scored by either team in the third period.
Both teams scored two touchdowns apiece in the fourth quarter. NIU scored on 3- and 1-yard rushes at the 14:57 and 8:02 marks, respectively. Hendrix ran the ball in from 12 yards out at the 12:36 mark and scored on a 2-yard scamper with 2:36 remaining. Miami was unable to convert on a 2-point conversion on its first touchdown of the fourth quarter and the RedHawks finished the game trailing by a 10-point margin.
In a game that featured a combined 92 points and 1172 yards of offense, the RedHawks gave up 658 yards of offense to the Huskies, which included 433 rushing yards.
After a two-week road stretch, Miami returns to Yager Stadium for a two-game homestand beginning with a 2:30 p.m. game against Kent State on Saturday, Oct. 25. Saturday’s game against the Golden Flashes is Family Weekend.