DeKALB – Kent State had momentum, and plenty of it.
The Golden Flashes converted an 18-yard field goal to trim Northern Illinois’ lead, 7-3, and then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff when the ball hit Lance Deveaux Jr. in the head.
Threatening inside the NIU 10, it seemed like a sure deal Kent State would take a lead or make it a one-point game.
Then, NIU senior defensive back Shawun Lurry took over.
Lurry intercepted a pass from Kent State freshman quarterback Dustin Crum just outside the end zone and ran it back 45 yards. His pick led to another Huskies touchdown, and NIU never looked back.
“Our defense did a great job of really harassing and getting after the quarterback and not allowing them to really get anything established,” Carey said. “Our defense had complete control of that game.”
The big play from Lurry was nothing new. It was his 14th career interception, placing him fourth among NIU’s career interception leaders, two behind record-holder Dan Meyer (1964-66). He leads all active NCAA players in interception return yards (435).
Lurry had plenty of help from his defensive teammates, too. The Huskies constantly pressured Crum and junior George Bollas, totaling six sacks led by Sutton Smith’s three sacks and four tackles for loss.
“It’s all about film study. We know their tendencies,” Smith said. “Everybody is making big plays out there. We’re playing fast. It’s not just one guy. That’s what we emphasize on, play fast, don’t think out there and just react.”