Spann leads Northern Illinois past Minnesota 34-23Sunday, Sep 26, 2010
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Chad Spann ran for a career-high 223 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead Northern Illinois past Minnesota 34-23 Saturday night.
Chandler Harnish threw touchdown passes to Martel Moore and Connor Flahive for the Huskies (2-2).
Adam Weber threw for a season-high 373 yards and a touchdown for Minnesota (1-3), which lost its third straight at home. The inconsistent Gophers hung with No. 20 USC for three quarters last week before losing 32-21, and lost 41-38 to South Dakota, an FCS team, two weeks ago.
Harnish and Flahive connected for a 2-yard score on fourth down early in the fourth quarter for a 27-16 Huskies lead.
Spann, whose previous high was 174 yards against Eastern Michigan last year, scored on a 61-yard run with 6:22 to play, to clear out much of the crowd at TCF Bank Stadium. He had 106 rushing yards in the first half.
Harnish’s first touchdown pass, a 10-yarder to Moore with 3 seconds left in the first half, gave Northern Illinois a 20-13 lead.
Duane Bennett had 74 rushing yards for Minnesota. He had 299 yards in the Gophers’ first two games, but a sore ankle limited him to just six carries and 8 yards last week. Bennett’s 55-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was negated by a holding penalty.
He was stuffed on a fourth-down play at the Northern Illinois 21 to end the same drive. Spann made the game-clinching rumble up the middle three plays later.
Weber found MarQueis Gray for a 29-yard touchdown for Minnesota with 4:18 to play, but the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds.
Both teams were looking for momentum heading into next week’s conference openers—Minnesota at home to Northwestern in the Big 10 and Northern Illinois at Akron in the Mid-American.
Minnesota may not be favored in any of its eight Big Ten games—including five with ranked teams—making it difficult to avoid a third losing season in coach Tim Brewster’s four years. There were at least three “Fire Brewster” chants during the game.
It was the second straight strong performance against a Big Ten team for the Huskies, who lost 28-22 at Illinois last week, and are favored by many to win the MAC West Division.