AP: Red Wolves Fall To Northern Illinois In GoDaddy.com Bowl

by The Associated Press  on Monday, Jan. 9, 2012 12:23 am  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

MOBILE, Ala. — Hobbled by a bum ankle, Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish couldn't put on his usual one-man offensive show.

But the fifth-year senior knows when to delegate, and receiver Martel Moore was more than willing to pick up the slack.

Moore caught eight passes for 224 yards and a touchdown, and Northern Illinois rallied for a 38-20 victory over Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Sunday night.

The 6-foot-2, 182-pound junior from San Antonio, Texas, had 523 yards receiving all season until Sunday's monster performance. Harnish was more than happy to cede the spotlight.

"This is a storybook ending," Harnish said. "The way we came out and beat a great Arkansas State team is something we ought to be proud of."

The late-night game ended with a midnight celebration for the Huskies at midfield. It sure didn't start so well.

The Huskies trailed 13-0 late in the first quarter, but the Mid-American Conference champions scored 31 unanswered points on the way to their ninth straight victory. It was the third time this season Northern Illinois (11-3) rallied from a double-digit deficit to win.

Arkansas State (10-3) had its nine-game winning streak snapped. The Sun Belt champions couldn't overcome five turnovers — including three interceptions thrown by Ryan Aplin.

Harnish completed 18 of 36 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns in his final college game. He came in as the nation's top rushing quarterback, averaging 106.3 yards per game, but was limited to minus-3 yards on the ground.

Arkansas State jumped out early, but the score was almost disappointing considering the Red Wolves had to settle for two short field goals instead of touchdowns. Brian Davis connected on kicks from 32 and 36 yards before Aplin scored on a 2-yard run.

The missed opportunities kept Northern Illinois close, and after some early trouble on offense, the Huskies made their move.

"We stopped beating ourselves and started playing our game," NIU coach Dave Doeren said. "Our coaches called an aggressive game and we made a couple of plays that swung the momentum. Two scores is nothing for us. We've been down way more than that this year."



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