NIU loses season opener against Iowa

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NIU has one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation this season. It began with a road game at Iowa Saturday and it did not go the way the Huskies had hoped it would. They lost 33-7.

The last time the NIU Huskies came in here to Kinnick Stadium it was five years ago and they won that game with the help of Jordan Lynch. This game was a far different story.

Rod Carey’s record against Big Ten competition was 4-1 coming into this game but that magic touch wore off. Even the one loss in 2015 at number one Ohio State wasn’t as bad as this game.

The Huskies had their chances early against the Hawkeyes. They block a punt and they had an interception but they blew two field goal opportunities and they trailed 3-0 at halftime. The second half was an Iowa Hawkeye avalanche. They scored 30 unanswered points during one stretch. Carey says NIU probably won the first half but Iowa was clearly the better team in the second half.

“In that second half they proved it. They got after our butts and really I think the difference was their d-line got after our o-line in the second half,” said Carey.  That put our defense on the field too much. They caused some turnovers.”

Huskie All-American defensive end Sutton Smith did have one sack and five tackles but he wasn’t the disruptive force that he was last season. Quarterback Marcus Childers had a rough outing. He had an interception and two fumbles.

 “They definitely were coming out a little harder,” said Childers. We wanted a win. They wanted a win. Yea they got after us.”

The Hawkeyes started slowly but they got it cranked up in the second half offensively. The Hawkeyes’ defense continued to clamp down on the Huskies in the second half even registering a safety at one point. Despite the rough showing in this game coach Carey says he still thinks his guys have the ability to put together a good season.

“We’ve still got a good football team here and I believe in these guys.”

But this final score of 33-7 doesn’t bode well for an NIU team that has Utah coming into DeKalb next weekend and games coming up after that against Florida State and eventually Brigham Young. It’s going to be tough going. The Huskies are going to have to step it up.”

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