It didn’t take long for NIU tailback Jordan Huff’s name to be called in his first game back from an ankle injury. Huff, who hadn’t played since Oct. 14 at Buffalo, had a couple of short gains on NIU’s next drive, but the senior found the end zone on a 24-yard pass from Childers. For the season, Huff leads NIU in rushing with 507 yards on 91 carries.
NIU’s offense scored two more touchdowns in the second quarter and the Huskies entered halftime with a 35-7 advantage. The Huskies previous season-high first half point total was 31, scored twice – Sept. 9 against Eastern Illinois and Oct. 21 at Bowling Green.
Defensive end Sutton Smith picked up his 21st tackle for loss of the season on Ball State’s final drive of the first half, which made him NIU’s leader in tackles for loss in a season. He added another tackle for loss in the second half, while the Huskies finished with 18 tackles for loss – a program record.
NIU’s defense had more fun in the third quarter. Linebacker Jawuan Johnson intercepted Plitt, and then lateraled to teammate Shawun Lurry, who picked up 10 yards before lateraling it back to Johnson, who was eventually taken down at the Ball State 35.
“We really didn’t want them to score,” said Johnson, who was all smiles after making his team-leading fourth interception. “We were just having fun with it. I heard Shawun yell pitch it back, so I was like I might as well. ... I ended up telling him to pitch it back, too.”
On the next play, Huff ran 35 yards untouched into the end zone to put NIU up, 49-14. Huff finished with six carries for 57 yards and one rushing touchdown.