Ohio and Northern Illinois will meet for the 22nd time Saturday when the Bobcats travel to Huskie Stadium for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff. NIU leads the all-time series 11-10, and recently, the Huskies have had the upper hand, although the two don’t meet often.
Here are the last three head-to-head matchups:
The Bobcats and Huskies met in the 2011 MAC Championship Game, and it was an instant classic. Ohio sprinted out to a 20-0 lead behind two field goals, a Dante Foster touchdown reception from Phil Bates and a Tyler Tettleton rushing score. The Bobcats dominated the first half.
But the game was a tale of two halves. Northern Illinois scored midway through the third quarter, flipping the feel of the game. The 39-yard reception by Nathan Palmer gave the Huskies new life. Ohio entered the fourth quarter with a 13-point advantage, but that was short-lived. Chand Harnish had two of his three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, and Matthew Sims hit a 33-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Bobcats.
Ohio’s MAC Championship drought was extended to 43 years, and it stands at 50 now.
In their first meeting since the 2011 MAC Championship game, the Bobcats and Huskies met for a mid-week, nationally televised game. Temperature at kickoff was 22 degrees and wind was blowing at 15 mph. To be frank: it was cold. Neither offense could find points in the first quarter, but NIU struck first at the beginning of the second quarter. Ohio tied the game on a touchdown run by a freshman running back — A.J. Ouellette — just four minutes later.
After NIU took the lead in the second half, the Bobcats again responded with Ouellette, only this time he caught a Derrius Vick pass for a score midway through the fourth quarter. With six minutes remaining, NIU broke the tie for good, then held the Bobcats out of the end zone, capturing a road win late in the season.
In their last meeting, the Huskies and Bobcats met in DeKalb, Illinois to end the regular season. Ohio came into the game at 7-4, while the Huskies were 8-3. In a matchup of good MAC teams, Ohio struck first on a touchdown pass from JD Sprague to Jordan Reid. The Huskies quickly responded with a touchdown of their own.
Ohio scored 13 unanswered points to end the half with a 20-7 lead. Northern Illinois made a comeback attempt, holding Ohio to just two field goals in the second half. The Huskies’ Kenny Golladay, who is currently 11th in the NFL in receiving yards for the Detroit Lions, caught two touchdown passes in the second half. The second TD catch came with just 1:45 left to cut the Ohio lead to five. But Ohio ran the clock out and escaped with a season-ending MAC win.