Carey happy with penalty-free victory
DeKALB – Northern Illinois' 48-27 win over Ball State Wednesday featured the Huskies' offense moving the ball at will.
There were two highlight-reel third-down plays from Jordan Lynch. The Huskies' defense held Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning and Co. in check during the second half, allowing only three points.
At Friday's news conference at the Yordon Center, NIU coach Rod Carey said he was pleased with all three phases of his team's game – offense, defense and special teams.
But the thing Carey was most happy about was his team's lack of penalties. NIU didn't commit a single penalty all game for the first time this season.
"It's really hard to go through a game with no penalties. To do that you really have to have, I don't know if luck is the right word, you probably have to be fortunate," Carey said. "And we probably were in some cases, but that's something we've been harping on. The ones that we could control, we got controlled."
Through 10 games, NIU has averaged 6.67 penalties per game, a total which ranks 94th in the nation. After committing a season-high 14 penalties against Eastern Illinois Week 4, NIU had only two penalties against UMass before committing none Wednesday.
"I think the discipline part of any football team, the longer you play those are the things you pay attention to, and I think we are," Carey said.
On the other sideline, Ball State came into the game as one of the most disciplined teams in the nation, averaging less than four penalties per contest. The Cardinals had two false start penalties on their first drive, and Ball State finished the game with six penalties for 45 yards.
NIU defensive end Joe Windsor said the loud crowd of 18,290 fans played a factor.
"I think so. They're a pretty big hard-count team," Windsor said. "When you've got a crowd like ours and they get loud for you it's pretty hard for them to hard count it."
Notes from Friday's news conference:
• Tailback Akeem Daniels still hasn't practiced. He hasn't practiced yet while recovering from offseason foot surgery.
Daniels still has a redshirt year available. Carey said the staff can't make any decisions on whether they would play him or not until they know he's healthy.
• Cornerback Sean Evans (knee) took part in pregame warmups Wednesday, but was still held out of the game. Carey is hopeful Evans will play this week.
• Carey called Rockets running back David Fluellen, who has run for 1,067 yards this season, a "special player" who has NFL talent. Fluellen has missed time with an ankle injury but could play Wednesday.