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MOBILE, Ala. (CBS) — The NIU Huskies overcame a 13-0 deficit in the GoDaddy.com bowl Sunday night, defeating Arkansas State 38-20.
In winning the bowl game, Northern Illinois University won its ninth straight game and finished 11-3 for the second consecutive season. They snapped the Arkansas State Red Wolves’ nine-game winning streak.
“Our guys never flinched,” NIU head coach Dave Doeren said in a news release. “It was a lot of fun. I am proud of the Huskies, the entire team, our fans and how we represented Northern Illinois. We started to run our plays better and stopped beating ourselves. The coaches called an aggressive game. Two scores is nothing for us.”
Huskies quarterback Chandler Harnish won the game’s Most Valuable Player Award, passing for 274 yards on 18 out of 36 passes with two touchdowns. But he had to leave the game after the second quarter with an ankle injury.
After Harnish left the game, sophomore Jordan Lynch stepped in and drove the Huskies ahead with a seven-play, 78-ayrd touchdown drive. He hit Martel Moore with a 41-yard reception for one of his eight catches, and scored himself on a three-yard touchdown run.
That put the Huskies up 14-13.
Just before halftime, the Huskies extended their lead to 21-13, after Jamal Womble scored a touchdown on a one-yard run with no time left on the clock. Arkansas State had already given NIU the ball back twice in the final minutes of the half.
Early in the third quarter, Moore extended the lead to 28-13, scoring a 43-yard touchdown pass on a double reverse.
NIU extended its lead further to 31-13 early in the fourth quarter, when Matthew Sims scored a 22-yard field goal. Arkansas State’s Taylor Stockemer then scored for the Red Wolves, catching a 16-yard touchdown pass.
A 36-yard interception return and touchdown by NIU redshirt freshman Dechane Durante drove sealed the Huskies’ victory with 8:19 to play.