ROCHELLE – The way Kaneland’s offense sputtered early against Rochelle on Friday night, it would have been tough to guess the Knights eventually would earn an easy 34-6 win.
For the first quarter and a half, the Kaneland (5-0, 1-0 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) attack couldn’t get going. The Knights’ playmakers weren’t getting room to operate.
The slow start all changed when junior wideout Dylan Nauert took a screen pass from quarterback Drew David and went 86 yards for a touchdown with 6:49 left in the second quarter. The Hubs (4-1, 0-1 NI Big 12 East) had no answer for Kaneland’s big-play capability.
Jesse Balluff caught a 61-yard pass from David at the end of the second quarter to put Kaneland up, 14-0. Nauert and Balluff each scored one more touchdown, with Balluff running in from 2 yards out in the third quarter and Nauert catching a 33-yard pass from David in the fourth.
David finished the game 10-for-19 passing for 256 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Nauert caught five passes for a team-high 135 yards, and had an interception on defense.
“We got some really explosive players on the outside that play wide receiver,” David said. “And our line’s been blocking really well, so when they give me lots a time and we’re able to get it out to those guys, they’re able to make a guy miss and then they have the potential to take it all the way every single time.”
Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly simply thought his team settled in in the second half, as the Knights got yet another NI Big 12 East win. It’s Kaneland’s third year in the conference, and the Knights have yet to lose a league game.
“In the second half, I just think we got a rhythm going, being able to run and throw the ball,” Fedderly said. “The first half, I was pretty stubborn trying to throw the ball a lot. Mixed it up a little bit and got in a rhythm and then it started rolling for us.”