(Sunday, December 28th)
Final Score: Louisiana Tech 17, Northern Illinois 10
Shreveport, LA (Sports Network) - Daniel Porter logged 78 yards on the ground with a touchdown and Phillip Livas returned a kickoff for a score, as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs edged the Northern Illinois Huskies, 17-10, in the 33rd annual Independence Bowl.
Ross Jenkins managed the game effectively, passing for 144 yards on 12-of-27 passes for the Bulldogs (8-5), who won five of their last six games to end the season.
Chandler Harnish connected on 20-of-40 throws for 181 yards and a touchdown while adding 61 yards on the ground, but the signal-caller threw two interceptions for the Huskies (6-7), who stumbled to lose four of their final five affairs.
The Huskies moved the ball into the red zone of their first touch of the game but failed to gain a first down on 4th-and-1 from the Tech 19. Nonetheless, Kyle Skarb caught an eight-yard out route to put NIU up 7-0 with two minutes to go in the opening quarter.
Livas countered seconds later, darting up the middle on the ensuing kickoff, breaking a tackle and adding a brilliant stutter-step move that froze another defender en route to a highlight-reel 97-yard score.
Porter's 11-yard touchdown run capped Tech's five-play, 42-yard drive 1:19 into the second frame.
A muffed punt gave the Bulldogs the ball at the NIU 24-yard line just before the break, but Jenkins threw three straight incompletions and Brad Oestriecher missed a 41-yard field goal attempt to keep it a 14-7 affair.
Oestriecher and his counterpart Mike Salerno traded 33 and 20-yard field goals, respectively, on the opening drives of the third quarter.
The game remained 17-10 throughout the fourth. The Huskies moved the ball into enemy territory with just over two minutes to go in the game, but Harnish threw an incomplete pass on 4th-and-4 from the Tech 46-yard line and the Bulldogs held on for the win.
This was Tech's fourth appearance in the Independence Bowl, moving its record to 2-1-1...Northern Illinois is now 2-2 all-time in bowl games...Chad Spann led the NIU running attack with 79 yards on 14 carries, while Matt Simon posted a team-high six grabs for 44 yards...Despite the loss, the Huskies outgained the Bulldogs, 339-236.
12/29 00:45:48 ET