Huskies open with convincing win

comp:00004e633028:000000005e:39cf 4 <script> jQuery.noConflict(); </script><script language='javascript'> function addElement() { var ni = document.getElementById('photobox'); var newdiv = document.createElement('div'); newdiv.setAttribute('id','gallery'); newdiv.innerHTML = '<div id="gallerytease"><img src="http://ssm.nwherald.com/admin/includes/photo/gallery_button.jpg" class="button" /><div style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://ssm.nwherald.com/daily-chronicle/multimedia/photos/20110903-768/niuarmy0009.JPG" rel="lightbox[gallery]" rev="NIU 49, Army 26" name="Kyle Bursaw - kbursaw@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois linebacker Jamaal Bass (6) forces Army running back Trenton Turrentine (30) out of bounds to save the touchdown during the second quarter at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. "><img src="http://ssm.nwherald.com/daily-chronicle/multimedia/photos/20110903-768/thumbnails/niuarmy0009.JPG" class="thumb" /></a><a href="http://ssm.nwherald.com/daily-chronicle/multimedia/photos/20110903-768/niuarmy0001.JPG" rel="lightbox[gallery]" rev="NIU 49, Army 26" name="Kyle Bursaw - kbursaw@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois defensive end Joe Windsor (97) sacks Army quarterback Trent Steelman (8) during the first quarter at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. "><img src="http://ssm.nwherald.com/daily-chronicle/multimedia/photos/20110903-768/thumbnails/niuarmy0001.JPG" class="thumb" /></a><a href="http://ssm.nwherald.com/daily-chronicle/multimedia/photos/20110903-768/niuarmy0002.JPG" rel="lightbox[gallery]" rev="NIU 49, Army 26" name="Kyle Bursaw - kbursaw@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois\' Cameron Bell (32) brings down Army\'s Raymond Maples (1) during a kick return in the first quarter at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. "><img src="http://ssm.nwherald.com/daily-chronicle/multimedia/photos/20110903-768/thumbnails/niuarmy0002.JPG" class="thumb" /></a><a href="http://ssm.nwherald.com/daily-chronicle/multimedia/photos/20110903-768/niuarmy0004.JPG" rel="lightbox[gallery]" rev="NIU 49, Army 26" name="Kyle Bursaw - kbursaw@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren walks the sidelines during the game against Army at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. "></a><a href="http://ssm.nwherald.com/daily-chronicle/multimedia/photos/20110903-768/niuarmy0005.JPG" rel="lightbox[gallery]" rev="NIU 49, Army 26" name="Kyle Bursaw - kbursaw@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois safety Tommy Davis (20) tries to strip the ball from Army wide receiver Jared McFarlin (88) during the first quarter at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. "></a><a href="http://ssm.nwherald.com/daily-chronicle/multimedia/photos/20110903-768/niuarmy0006.JPG" rel="lightbox[gallery]" rev="NIU 49, Army 26" name="Kyle Bursaw - kbursaw@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish (12) passes during the first quarter of the game against Army at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. "></a><a href="http://ssm.nwherald.com/daily-chronicle/multimedia/photos/20110903-768/niuarmy0003.JPG" rel="lightbox[gallery]" rev="NIU 49, Army 26" name="Kyle Bursaw - kbursaw@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois running back Akeem Daniels (30) stiff arms Army defensive back Josh Jackson (14) during the first quarter at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. "></a><a href="http://ssm.nwherald.com/daily-chronicle/multimedia/photos/20110903-768/niuarmy0007.JPG" rel="lightbox[gallery]" rev="NIU 49, Army 26" name="Kyle Bursaw - kbursaw@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois running back Jasmin Hopkins (25) looks for a lane after taking a handoff from Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish (12) during the first quarter of the game against Army at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. "></a><a href="http://ssm.nwherald.com/daily-chronicle/multimedia/photos/20110903-768/niuarmy0010.JPG" rel="lightbox[gallery]" rev="NIU 49, Army 26" name="Kyle Bursaw - kbursaw@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois running back Jamal Womble (5) breaks through Army defenders and runs for a touchdown during the third quarter to put NIU up 42-6 at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. "></a><a href="http://ssm.nwherald.com/daily-chronicle/multimedia/photos/20110903-768/niuarmy0008.JPG" rel="lightbox[gallery]" rev="NIU 49, Army 26" name="Kyle Bursaw - kbursaw@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois wide receiver Martel Moore (1) fights for extra yards as Army defensive back Waverly Washington (21) tries to bring him down during the second quarter at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. "></a><p>View 10 more photos in a photo gallery.</p></div></div>'; ni.appendChild(newdiv); } Event.observe(window, 'load', function(event) { addElement(); });</script>
comp:00004e633028:000000005b:39cf 0 http://www.huskiewire.com/articles/2011/09/04/31391931/index.xml _blank VIEWS: Not difficult to picture future of this team 0
comp:00004e633028:000000005c:39cf 0 http://www.huskiewire.com/articles/2011/09/04/74222500/index.xml _blank Ward adds to punt block legend 0
comp:00004e633028:000000005d:39cf 0 http://www.huskiewire.com/articles/2011/09/04/47002994/index.xml _blank NIU Notes: Hayes, Compher enjoy experience 0

DeKALB – With more than 10 minutes left in the second quarter Saturday, Northern Illinois' 22-point lead begged for conservatism. No need to risk giving an inferior opponent any chance.

But NIU coach Dave Doeren saw Army's secondary playing single coverage. Before the Huskies started their next possession, Doeren told offensive coordinator Matt Canada to "loosen them up." The first play, NIU tried to extend its lead when quarterback Chandler Harnish threw deep and incomplete to receiver Martel Moore.

"That's what we are," Doeren said, moments after beginning his tenure with a 49-26 win in front of 17,003 fans at Huskie Stadium. "I think it's hard for us to get in that mode where we don't want to attack."

The Huskies' attack started early with defensive back Jimmie Ward blocking a punt Courtney Stephen returned 16 yards for touchdown after Army's (0-1) first possession. It didn't stop until NIU (1-0) was ahead 35-6 at half, well on its way to an eventual 49-6 lead and its first season-opening win since 2003.

"We were scrambling a little bit," Army coach Rich Ellerson said. "... We weren't ready. We were approximate, we weren't precise. And against an outfit like that, your only chance is to be exactly right. If you give those guys space, look out."

NIU's offense was so impressive, defensive players couldn't look away. Senior middle linebacker Pat Schiller gave an honest effort on the sideline. He tried to pay attention to his coaches.

But when running back Jamal Womble turned Harnish's screen pass into a 58-yard touchdown to give NIU a 42-6 lead early in the third, Schiller had to look up at the video scoreboard.

"I definitely got corrected a few times when coach was trying to talk with the marker board and my eyes were up on the big screen cheering him on," Schiller said. "It was really good to see him come in – first-year player here, transfer from (Hutchinson Community College) – and make a play like that."

There were plenty of highlights to tempt the defense's sideline focus.

Senior running back Jasmin Hopkins, making his first start, finished with a game-high 138 yards on 14 carries. Harnish added 80 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. He was also 12-for-19 passing for 195 yards and five touchdowns against one interception.

Harnish's five touchdowns went to five receivers. They were a career-high, and then some.

"I've never done that in my life, ever," Harnish told Doeren, with Doeren giving him a nudge and smile as they sat down for the postgame news conference.

"It feels good, but at the same time there are a lot of things during the course of the game that you need to work on," Harnish said. "I was a little sloppy with the ball tonight. But all the credit goes to those wideouts, the running backs. They made some great catches, and they did well with open space, too."

The defense played mostly second stringers the final quarter, allowing Army to score 20 points.

But the outcome was decided. It felt that way even before Harnish threw deep and incomplete to Moore. Doeren talked all week about the importance of starting fast. He only hoped it would happen like this.

"The start of that game couldn't have been any better," Doeren said. "Three-and-out on defense, blocked punt for touchdown, that's as good as it gets. As we went through the game, we had a couple penalties early, we had a turnover early, and then we responded. That's the biggest thing I love about the way the day went with our guys, is that they attacked it."