NIU Sports

Carifio: Three Huskies to keep an eye on when NIU battles Akron in the season finale on senior day

Northern Illinois Huskie Kyle Pugh (11) tries to tackle a Vanderbilt QB before getting the throw off during the second quarter on Saturday Sep. 17 at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.

DeKALB – A disappointing season comes to a close for Northern Illinois on Saturday when the Huskies host Akron.

The team will honor a dozen seniors who are expected to play their last game with the Huskies – although players like Miles Joiner and Rocky Lombardi are not on the list, as both are expected to get medical redshirts and return next season.

Here are three seniors that can have gigantic games in their college swan song.

Huskies' linebacker Kyle Pugh will miss the rest of the 2017 season with a torn bicep.

Kyle Pugh, senior linebacker

No one has played college football longer than Kyle Pugh in the history of the sport. The eighth-year senior has played in all 11 games this year and has 55 tackles. It’s not quite the 106 he put up in 2018, but it is third on the team.

But while the Huskies have had success getting to the passer – 29 sacks on the year as a team – Pugh has not, and in fact has just two tackles for a loss. Maybe a big flash play is in the cards as he wraps up his historic career.

Northern Illinois Huskies Jorden Gandy (14) pushes out Vanderbilt ball carrier in the first quarter Saturday Sep. 17th at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.

Jordan Gandy, senior cornerback

The DeKalb graduate is finishing up his third year with the Huskies after transferring in from South Dakota State.

While the Zips have struggled in most every aspect of the game, they have thrown the ball well this year. They’ve also been prone to turnovers. That could mean that Gandy may be in store for his first interception of the year. He has forced and recovered a fumble and has broken up three passes but does not have a pick yet.

NIU Liam Soraghan, 83, celebrates after catching a pass from teammate QB Nevan Cremascoli in the first quarter Wednesday Nov. 16th at Huskies Stadium in DeKalb while taking on Miami of Ohio.

Liam Soraghan, senior tight end

Soraghan has a catch in four straight games, which is something unusual for him – he only had four catches in his career before this season, and has nine this year. He also never caught a touchdown before this year, something he did last week against Miami and twice in the last three games.

Freshman quarterback Nevan Cremascoli has been using him as a safety blanket, and he’s been reliable when targeted with four catches since Cremascoli took over as the starter.

Akron can give up points, so it’ll be interesting to see if six of those points will end up belonging to Soraghan, who’s been in the program since 2017.

Last week

We went with: Nick Alvarado, Ray Thomas, Jordan White

What they did: Alvarado had just one tackle, but it was a sack that went for a 10-yard loss. Thomas had four tackles, including one for a loss. Jordan White had five tackles.