AKRON, Ohio — After Saturday's game at InfoCision Stadium, Akron's band played in front of a small group of Zips fans deciding to stick around.
When the band finished a song, the group let out a nice ovation. Unfortunately for the small crowd in downtown Akron, it was about the only thing they had to cheer for all day.
Northern Illinois dominated the Zips, on both the scoreboard and in the final game book, beating the Akron 37-7 to improve to 7-1 and 4-0 in Mid-American Conference play.
Akron (1-7, 0-4 MAC), who's offense has put up points this season, gained just 199 yards of offense. The Huskies, on the other hand, put up 528 yards of total offense on 83 plays. The Zips also turned the ball over three times.
"To get a victory, it's something you're proud of. I think any road victory is a big win," NIU head coach Dave Doeren said. "The way our guys played on defense, to hold that team that averaged almost 500 yards a game to under 200 yards, I think says a lot about our football team defensively."
The NIU defense held Akron's rushing attack to just 42 yards on 37 carries. Zips tailback Jawon Chisholm, who came into the game averaging close to 6 yards per carry, was held to just 19 yards on eight carries before leaving with an injury in the second half.
"I think it's been that way for all of the games we've played except for one, Army. Average it out for the season, last week [Buffalo was] 1.8 yards a carry," Doeren said. "I think we have a good defensive line. Our linebackers are playing downhill, our secondary's tackling well."
In the first half, the Huskies' offense moved the ball well but had trouble punching it in, and Akron got to within six points of NIU with 1:32 remaining in the second quarter.
However, NIU answered, and rolled the rest of the way. Quarterback Jordan Lynch ran for a 15-yard touchdown with 19 seconds remaining in the first half, running over Akron cornerback Avis Commack in the process. Lynch ran for 131 yards, putting him over 1,000 for the season, and the Huskies would score 24 unanswered points to end the game.
One of the scores came from senior tight end Jason Schepler, who caught a 13-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, his first score since the 2010 season.
The Sycamore product was wide open in the end zone on the play-action pass.
"I was pretty fun. I was just running my route, and I knew all the corners dropped down. I'm like 'oh shoot, I might be wide open.' I just looked back and I was all there by myself," he said. "I was just concentrating on catching it, it seemed like forever once he threw it. It seemed like the ball was in the air forever, it was a lot of fun."
NIU will look to remain unbeaten in MAC play next Saturday at Western Michigan. Kickoff is 11 a.m. CT.