ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WTVO/WQRF)– Number 25 Michigan rushed for 373 yards and eight rushing touchdowns en route to a 63-10 win over the Northern Illinois University Huskies Saturday at Michigan Stadium.
“They were the better team,” said NIU head coach Thomas Hammock. “They beat us soundly in all three phases. Sometimes you just have to say, that is a better football team than us. We won’t see an opponent better than this.”
The Huskies’ highlights came early and late. After Michigan took a 7-0 lead, NIU drove 72 yards in 10 plays to the Michigan three-yard line. After a timeout, Hammock sent the field goal team out and John Richardson hit from 21 yards away to put NIU on the scoreboard. The drive opened with quarterback Rocky Lombardi connecting with Tristen Tewes for 15 yards with Lombardi also scrambling for 16 yards and a first down to the Michigan 11-yard line.
In the fourth quarter, the NIU defense forced a fourth down incompletion and the Huskies took over on its own 32-yard line. After an illegal formation call on Michigan gave NIU a first down at its 44, Lombardi faked the handoff to Erin Collins and then ran around the right side for 45 yards to the Michigan 11-yard line. Three plays later, he hit Cole Tucker over the middle for the nine-yard touchdown.
Michigan drove seven plays in 48 yards on their first possession, with quarterback Cade McNamara scoring from a yard out to give the Wolverines a 7-0 lead with 11:05 to play in the first quarter. The onslaught did not stop until the Wolverines closed out a 28-point third quarter with a 58-yard scoring run by Donovan Edwards at the 4:13 mark.
“They have a great offensive line, great tight ends and if you commit to the run, they’re going to throw over the top,” Hammock said. “We battled, we competed. They were more physical than us, this is a team we can emulate in how to play physically.”
Michigan scored nine touchdowns in the game, eight via the run with McNamara hitting Cornelius Johnson with an 87-yard touchdown pass with 1:53 to play before half. In addition to Edwards’ 58-yard run, he scored UM’s penultimate touchdown on a four-yard run that was set up by an interception by Gemon Green that was returned to the NIU three-yard line.
Lombardi led NIU in rushing with seven carries for 72 yards. Punter Matt Ference averaged 48.3 yards on seven punts with a season-long 55-yard boot.
Michigan’s Blake Corum carried 13 times for 125 yards and three touchdowns to lead all runners, while McNamara completed 8-of-11 passes for 191 yards and a score.
Senior linebacker Lance Deveaux Jr. led the Huskies in tackles with eight, while Daveren Rayner, Jordan Hansen and Jordan Gandy each made six stops to lead NIU defensively.