(Thursday, November 12th)
Final Score: Northern Illinois 26, Ball State 20
DeKalb, IL (Sports Network) - Chandler Harnish and DeMarcus Grady both threw touchdown passes as Northern Illinois took a 26-20 decision from Ball State in MAC play at Huskie Stadium.
Chad Spann rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown for NIU (7-3, 5-1 MAC), which has won four in a row and were coming off a punishing 50-6 defeat of Eastern Michigan. Despite the strong run, the Huskies remain only second in the MAC's West division where Central Michigan stands at 6-0.
Harnish ended a perfect 9-for-9 for 60 yards while Grady completed 4-of-5 passes for 31 yards and was picked.
Tanner Justice was 11-of-19 for 134 yards and threw a 29-yard touchdown to Daniel Ifft. Cory Sykes ran for 75 yards on 11 carries and Eric Williams scored on the ground for Ball State (1-9, 1-5), which had won three of the last four matchups with NIU.
Ball State struck for the game's first score less than two minutes in on Williams' five-yard TD run to cap a 78-yard drive. Preston Williams then hauled in a nine-yard pass from Grady to polish off a 59-yard trek, tying the game close to midway through.
Justice was sacked by Sean Progar shortly into BSU's next series and fumbled in the end zone -- recovered by Jake Coffman for a safety and a 9-7 edge.
Spann found the end zone from six yards out on the Huskies' next drive to make it a 16-7 game after one quarter.
Ian McGarvey booted field goals of 38 and 30 yards to comprise the second- quarter scoring and bring Ball State back within three at halftime, 16-13.
Mike Salerno answered with a 41-yarder for Northern Illinois to open the third-quarter scoring and Marcus Lewis' six-yard score on a pass from Harnish pushed the advantage to 26-13 entering the fourth.
Justice led the Cardinals on a 13-play, 77-yard drive and hit Ifft for a 29- yard touchdown with 5:27 to play for a 26-20 margin. The Huskies' defense, though, forced a three-and-out on BSU's next turn with the ball. Poor clock management by NIU led to a last-second play by the Cardinals but it fell short of the end zone.
11/12 23:05:24 ET