Northern Illinois University sophomore cornerback Shawun Lurry has been named the Mid-American Conference West Division Defensive Player of the Week after leading an outstanding defensive effort by the Huskies versus No. 1 Ohio State Saturday. The Huskies fell to the top-ranked Buckeyes, 20-13, despite the Huskie defense’s holding OSU to just 13 offensive points, the lowest point total of Urban Meyer’s tenure as Ohio State head coach.
Lurry, a 5-8, 178-pound corner from West Palm Beach, Fla., came up with two huge first-half interceptions to set up all 10 of NIU’s first half points. His interception and 33-yard return on Ohio State’s first possession of the game gave NIU field position at the OSU 22 yard-line. Three plays later, the Huskies took a 7-0 lead. Then, with NIU leading 7-3, Lurry intercepted Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones again and his 12-yard return set the Huskie offense up at the Buckeyes’ 29-yard line. Three plays later, Christian Hagan kicked a 38-yard field goal to put the Huskies ahead 10-3 at the 12:20 mark of the second quarter.
In addition to the two interceptions, which were returned for 45 total yards, Lurry made two huge pass break-ups and two solo tackles in the game. His first pass break-up came on fourth down and four for OSU from the NIU 31-yard line to stop a Buckeyes’ drive. His second helped the Huskies force a three-and-out in the fourth-quarter. He added two solo tackles, giving him 12 tackles, 11 solo, on the season.
NIU became the first defense to hold an Urban Meyer-coached OSU team to less than 300 yards in Ohio Stadium, and the Buckeyes’ 13-point offensive output (which did not include a touchdown scored by the OSU defense) was the lowest of the Meyer era overall.
The Huskies also held Ohio State without a rushing touchdown for the first time in 26 games and ended OSU’s streak of 31 consecutive games with at least three touchdowns. The Buckeyes had just 14 first downs as NIU forced five turnovers. In addition to Lurry’s two INTs, linebacker Sean Folliard recorded his first career interception and recovered one of Ohio State’s two fumbles with Bobby Jones collecting the other.
Lurry is the second Huskie to earn MAC West Player of the Week honors this season and his fellow No. 19 on the offensive side of the football, Kenny Golladay, was named the division’s Offensive Player of the Week versus UNLV.