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(Saturday, September 15th)
Final Score: Northern Illinois 41, Army 40
West Point, NY (Sports Network) - Jordan Lynch threw for 342 yards and four touchdowns, as the Northern Illinois Huskies rallied for a 41-40 win over Army at Michie Stadium.
Lynch also led the way on the ground with 125 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Martel Moore finished with seven catches for 134 yards and two TDs, including the game-winner, to help the Huskies (2-1) to their second straight win.
The Black Knights (0-2) dropped their fifth straight home opener despite three 100-yard rushers on the day. Larry Dixon had 136 yards and three TDs rushing, while Raymond Maples posted a game-high 159 rushing yards and a touchdown, and quarterback Trent Steelman finished with 116 yards and two TDs on the ground.
Army took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards in 10 plays, as Maples scored on a 22-yard run to stake the Black Knights an early 7-0 lead.
However, Northern Illinois answered with three straight touchdowns. Lynch tied the score at 7-7 with a two-yard touchdown pass to Tim Semisch with 7:22 to play in the first quarter. Later in the opening frame, Lynch inflicted some damage with his legs as he scored on an 88-yard run to give NIU a 14-7 lead. The Huskies pushed the margin to 21-7 on a 21-yard touchdown scamper by Tommylee Lewis with just under nine minutes to play in the second quarter.
Army finally answered with a 10-play, 73-yard scoring drive, capped by Dixon's three-yard touchdown run. However, Dan Grochowski missed the extra point as NIU still led by eight.
The score would not remain that way for long. The Huskies narrowed the gap on the second play of their next drive, when Lynch tossed a perfect strike to Lewis for a 69-yard touchdown, making it a 28-13 game.
Still, Army would not go away. The Black Knights cut the deficit to 28-19 on a 13-yard TD scamper by Dixon on the ensuing possession, which capped a 13-play, 77-yard drive. They went for two but could not convert.
Steelman trimmed the margin to 28-26 on a 25-yard run with just under 10 minutes to play in the third quarter.
NIU got the ball back and drove all the way down to the Army 4-yard line. But on 1st-and-goal, Lynch lost a fumble at the goal line. Although replays appeared to show the ball crossing the stripe, Army took over possession and capitalized with a 12-play, 80-yard drive, resulting in a four-yard touchdown run by Dixon. Steelman converted the two-point attempt with a pass to Patrick Laird in the end zone, as Army suddenly found itself with a 34-28 advantage.
NIU erased that margin on a 31-yard scoring strike from Lynch to Moore at the 13:25 mark of the fourth quarter.
Midway through the final frame, Lynch lost a fumble at his own 15-yard line, setting up a 15-yard TD scamper by Steelman on the next play from scrimmage. The Black Knights were unable to convert the two-point attempt and clung to a 40-35 lead.
That failed attempt proved costly, as NIU took the ball and drove 72 yards in 13 plays. Moore capped the decisive drive with an eight-yard touchdown reception from Lynch with 4:29 to play, and Army's final drive ended just across midfield.
The Black Knights lost despite a 25-minute edge in time of possession and notching touchdowns on all four of their trips inside the red zone. The Huskies held a 342-8 advantage in passing yards, and they converted 8-of-9 third downs.
09/15 16:56:10 ET
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