»»Tipp runs over Shawnee
Three missed PAT attempts—all of which came in the second half— ultimately doomed the Jets and proved to be the difference in the game.
Northwestern’s special teams blocked a point after kick attempt in the third, and then thwarted pass and rush conversion attempts in the fourth.
Northeastern coach Tim Houseman was without his regular kicker, who doubles as a linebacker and got injured during the game. He didn’t think this was the spot to put in his backup, who is freshman.
“We didn’t execute on special teams. It killed us tonight,” Houseman said. “ We didn’t get it done. Frustrating, but we beat ourselves.”
Despite some big plays, such as a 58-yard kick return by Northeastern’s Max Queen’s to start the game, both teams struggled to finish off drives in the early going as a light drizzle of rain fell on the field.
Northwestern finally broke through in the second, with a direct snap to running back Eli Berner, who stiff armed the last defender in his way to end zone.
Berner added his second touchdown off a 2-yard screen pass from quarterback Chris Hart. Berner had 10 total touches for 43 yards. He even attempted two passes, completing one for 20 yards, but getting intercepted on the other.
One minute later, Northwestern had the ball back, and appeared poised to dig Northeastern a deeper hole.
And then Jets’ defensive back Mac Davis picked off Hart’s pass and returned it 66 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 14-6.
Northwestern coach Shane Carter saw his team do a lot of good in victory, but he was also quick to admit that there’s a lot of room for improvement.
“We have a lot of work to do. We have to teach the kids how to win and finish games,” he said.
Carter’s team responded by ripping the momentum back, going 65 yards on five plays. The drive climaxed with a 34-yard reception by receiver Jalen Minney, which included a juke of a defender that would make any gamer of EA Sports’ Madden video game franchise jealous.
“Jalen had a great catch on that last one he took to the house,” Carter said of his sophomore, who totaled five receptions for 104 yards.
Still, Northeastern wouldn’t go quietly. Queen finished off a nine play, 63-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run with 10:12 left in the game. With 4:04 to go, Queen was in the end zone again, cashing in a one-yard run.
Despite getting two scores on the ground, Northeastern’s ground game generated little yardage, finishing with just 14 total yards on 28 attempts, compared to Northwestern backs Taveont Dennis-Miller and Austin Stanley, who combined for 173 yards.