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NIU

Huskies strike early, roll over Miami (Ohio) for first road win

OXFORD, Ohio – The Northern Illinois football team jumped out early and earned its first road victory of the season in a 45-12 win over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday afternoon.

The Huskies (4-3 overall, 2-1 in Mid-American Conference West) scored touchdowns in three of their first four possessions to build a 21-0 lead after the first quarter.

Northern Illinois junior quarterback Drew Hare finished 17 for 26 with 203 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. His favorite target once again was junior Kenny Golladay, who hauled in six catches for 73 yards – making it his third straight game with six receptions.

Junior running back Joel Bouagnon continues to have an impressive stretch with 134 yards on 14 carries (9.6 per carry) and three touchdowns, recording his third straight 100-plus yard game and fifth contest this season with multiple touchdowns.

"I have confidence in myself but I just look at each game," Bouagnon said of his hot stretch. "Just not getting ahead of myself. I don't like looking into stuff that much."

Defensively, sophomore cornerback Shawun Lurry had his nation-leading seventh interception of the season – making it the fifth game in a row with a pick – in the third quarter. Against the RedHawks, Lurry had his interception in the end zone and returned it 47 yards.

"Watching Lurry is amazing," said sophomore linebacker Bobby Jones, who finished with a team-high 13 tackles and had a sack and two tackles for a loss. "I keep telling everybody that he's going to get an interception every week because I've seen him do it in practice every day since he's been a freshman. It's not surprising me."

On the next play, Bouagnon scored on a 53-yard run for his third touchdown of the game.

The victory over the RedHawks (1-6 overall, 0-3 MAC East) finally gave the Huskies a road win on the season after dropping their first three – Ohio State, Boston College and Central Michigan – by a combined 20 points.

It was the first time the Huskies had lost their first three road games of the season since 2005.

The Huskies offense picked up where it left off in last week's 59-41 shootout win over Ball State at Huskie Stadium. They had three scoring drives in the first quarter, with none of them lasting longer than 1 minute, 41 seconds.

Bouagnon scored a pair of 22-yard touchdown runs and Hare found senior Tommylee Lewis for a 32-yard score. The score was the first since 2013 for Lewis, who ended the game with four catches for 50 yards.

"Everybody was doing their job – from the linemen, to Drew, to the running backs, to the receivers, everybody was doing their jobs," Lewis said of the Huskies' best first quarter of the season. "It just worked out perfectly."

The second half had a bizarre start, with Northern Illinois kick returner Aregeros Turner being called for a safety after taking a step into the field of play before taking a knee in the end zone.

Sophomore running back Jordan Huff had 12 carries for 64 yards and added a 3-yard touchdown up the middle in the fourth quarter to make it 38-12. Freshman Marcus Jones capped the Huskies' scoring with a 73-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.

The Huskies continued their dominance over the MAC East in regular season play. The win on Saturday was their 16th consecutive victory in crossover games – a streak that dates back to 2009.

Northern Illinois returns home to host Eastern Michigan at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Huskie Stadium. The Eagles lost 63-20 to No. 22 Toledo to fall to 1-6 overall and 0-3 in MAC West play.

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