Army Loses Opener At NIU, 49-26

Malcolm Brown ran for a career-best 92 yards and a score at NIU.

Malcolm Brown ran for a career-best 92 yards and a score at NIU.

Sept. 3, 2011

Final Stats |  Notes

Army vs. NIU Final Statistics

DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish threw for 195 yards and five scores, and ran for another 80 yards and a score to lead the Huskies to a 49-20 victory over Army at a soggy Huskie Stadium Saturday evening. The loss snapped Army's two-game winning streak in season openers and six-game road winning streak.

The start of the game was delayed by 10 minutes due to a thunderstorm that rolled through the DeKalb area. The pre-game warm-ups were shortened by 45 minutes in order to start as close to the scheduled start time (7 p.m. ET) as possible.

Five of Northern Illinois' six touchdown drives lasted two minutes, 40 seconds or less. The sixth was a 97-yard march in the third quarter. The Huskies scored their first touchdown on a blocked punt that was recovered and run in for the score.

Junior SB Malcolm Brown led the Army rushing attack, which gained 303 yards in the game, with a career-high 92 yards on just nine carries. Brown scored on a one-yard run, marking the third straight game he has found the end zone. Rookie SB Trenton Turrentine made his first career start, and ran for 68 yards on 11 carries. Turrentine scored a 14-yard touchdown on his first career carry.

Junior QB Trent Steelman ran for 37 yards on 17 tries and completed 5-of-11 passes for 86 yards. Senior QB Max Jenkins threw his first career touchdowns, an 11-yard toss to sophomore WR Jared McFarlin. McFarlin caught four passes for 35 yards and the score in his collegiate debut.

Defensively, senior LB Steven Erzinger made a career-high 21 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss, which tied a career high. Sophmore LB Reggie Nesbit recorded his first career double-digit tackle game with 12 stops. Sophomore DE Clayton Keller forced a fumble, and senior LB Andrew Rodriguez recovered in his first game back after missing all of 2010 with a back injury. Rodriguez finished with three tackles. Sophomore Tyler Dickson accounted for Army's other turnover with his first career interception.

Jasmin Hopkins led all players with 138 rushing yards on just 14 carries. Jamal Womble, Martel Moore, Akeem Daniels, Nathan Palmer and Luke Eakes were on the receiving end of Harnish's five scoring passes.

Tommy Davis led the NIU defense with 10 tackles.

Army lost the turnover battle, 3-2, including a fumble inside the Huskies' 5-yard line just before the end of the first half.

The Huskies seized momentum from the start, forcing the Black Knights into a three-and-out on the game's first possession. On Kolin Walk's first career punt, Jimmie Ward blocked the kick and Courtney Stephens recovered and returned the ball 16 yards for a touchdown. The extra point put the Huskies on top 7-0 with 13:43 left in the first quarter.

Army picked up its initial first down on the next possession, but were once again forced to punt. Walk boomed a 54-yard punt that pinned the Huskies back at their own 11-yard line. After a 33-yard run by Harnish moved the ball into Army territory, the Black Knights forced their first turnover of the season when Keller stripped the NIU signal caller and Rodriguez scooped it up and rumbled seven yards to give Army a first down at the Black Knights' 37-yard line.

The Black Knights' offense took advantage, marching 63 yards on seven plays, taking 3:34 off the clock. Turrentine did the honors, taking an option pitch around the left side for his first career touchdown on his first career score. Alex Carlton's extra point was wide, keeping NIU in the lead at 7-6 with 2:37 left in the first quarter.

The Huskies needed little time to answer, scoring their first offensive touchdown just three plays later. Hopkins keyed the drive with a 57-yard run on first down that moved the ball to the Army 15-yard line. Harnish threw his first touchdown pass of the season, connecting with Eakes for a 13-yard score. The extra point pushed the Huskies' margin to 14-6 with 1:36 left on the first quarter clock.

Army committed its first turnover of the season on the first play of the ensuing drive. Steelman lofted a pass in the direction of McFarlin, but Rashaan Melvin intercepted to give NIU the ball at its own 47-yard line. Harnish turned the miscue into his second touchdown of the day, hitting Palmer for a 19-yard score that capped a five-play drive that took only 1:35 off the clock. The Huskies' extra point extended their lead to 21-6 with 14:50 to go in the first half.

The Army offense stumbled again when Steelman and Turrentine could not connect on an option pitch. The Huskies returned the ball to the Black Knights' 22-yard line, and a late hit penalty pushed the ball to the Army 11-yard line. On the third play of the drive, Harnish tossed his second touchdown pass, a six-yard yard strike to Akeem Daniels. After the extra point, the Huskies led 28-6 with 12:49 left in the second quarter.

After another Army punt, the Huskies took over at their own 18-yard line. Harnish used his legs to set up their fourth offensive score of the half, breaking free for a 41-yard gain that put the ball at the Black Knights' 41-yard line. Harnish left the game for three plays, but returned to score a one-yard rushing touchdown, his fourth TD accounted for of the half. The extra point made the score 35-6 with 7:29 left in the first half.

The Army offense appeared to gather itself, methodically marching to the NIU 1-yard line with less than a minute to go. On 3rd-and-goal from the one, the Huskies forced Steelman into his second fumble of the half, and recovered at the 5-yard line. NIU took a knee on two straight plays to run out the first half clock and go into the locker room with a 35-6 advantage.

Turrentine led the Army offense in the first half with 35 yards on seven carries and the Black Knights' lone score. Maples ran five times for 25 yards, while sophomore Jon Crucitti gained 19 yards on his only attempt. Steelman completed three passes, all to McFarlin, for 24 yards.

The Huskies outgained the Black Knights 279-160 in the first 30 minutes with Harnish accounting for 162 yards (95 passing, 67 rushing) and four scores (3 passing, 1 rush). Hopkins gained 86 yards in the first half on only six carries.

After NIU gained a first down on its initial possession of the second half, the Army defense recorded its second takeaway when Dickson stepped in front of a Harnish pass to set the Black Knights' offense up at the NIU 46-yard line. The Army offense wasn't able to take advantage, however, getting stopped on fourth down to give the ball back to the Huskies at the NIU 38-yard line with 11:45 left in the third quarter.

The Huskies continued their big-play night with a 58-yard touchdown on a screen play from Harnish to Womble. The drive lasted only four plays and took 1:29 off the clock. The PAT pushed the NIU lead to 42-6 with 10:16 left in the third quarter.

Army was able to move into NIU territory thanks to a pair of 20-plus yard gains by Brown, including one that was ruled a forward pass after Steelman's late option pitch moved Brown in front of the Army quarterback. The drive stalled, however, and Carlton pinned the Huskies at their own 3-yard line with a 30-yard punt.

Northern Illinois went on their longest drive of the night, marching 97 yards in 17 plays, culminating in a four-yard touchdown pass from Harnish to Moore. The PAT split the uprights to give the Huskies a 49-6 lead with 1:20 left on the third-quarter clock.

The Black Knights responded with their second scoring drive of the night, going 49 yards on four plays. A 36-yard pass from Steelman to Brooks set up a two-yard scoring run by Steelman. Army's two-point conversion try was unsuccessful, keeping the score at 49-12 with 14:35 to go in the fourth quarter.

After the Black Knights forced NIU's first punt of the night, the Army offense marched 66 yards on 12 plays for their second touchdown of the second half. Brown capped the drive with a one-yard run around the left end. Steelman ran in the two-point conversion to pull the Black Knights within 49-20 with 8:27 left in the final stanza.

Army forced another punt and the offense moved the ball 83 yards on 14 plays for its third straight touchdown. Jenkins lofted a ball to McFarlin in the corner of the end zone for the 11-yard score. Jenkins tried to hit McFarlin on the two-point conversion, but the duo could not connect, leaving the score at 49-26 with 13 seconds left.

NIU took a knee on the final play to run out the clock and clinch the victory.

Army makes its home debut next Saturday against San Diego State. Kickoff at Michie Stadium is slated for 12 p.m. Tickets are available by visiting the Army Athletics Box Office in the lobby of the Holleder Center, calling 1-877-TIX-ARMY or on-line at www.goARMYsports.com.

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