Undefeated Northern Illinois moving on from close call

Undefeated Northern Illinois moving on from close call
October 16, 2013, 8:30 pm
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Vinnie Duber

The Huskies are still undefeated, but they were dealt their first bit of adversity last week.

Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey was peppered with questions about what went wrong in last week's game against Akron, a 27-20 win for the Huskies but one by a narrow margin for this typically dominant team.

"We didn't like what we saw and now we have to move on the a new opponent which we are, but we're moving on in the context of what we need to do with ourselves to get ready to go," Carey said at his weekly press conference Tuesday.

With the high expectations now surrounding this program after MAC championships and an appearance in the Orange Bowl last season, even wins can be scrutinized.

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There were positives. NIU still managed 399 yards of offense, didn't turn the ball over and saw quarterback Jordan Lynch rack up 303 total yards and a pair of touchdowns despite him completing fewer than half of his passes.

But it was the general play and some mistakes that led to a harsh review of the game.

"Every position took their turn, I can tell you that," Carey said. "The offensive line, tight ends, fullbacks, quarterbacks, running backs, the wide outs, coaches, we all took our turns. This isn't a 'they did that and they did that and we got to get this,' this is a 'we' thing and we were responsible for it and we will get it corrected starting with me. We're working hard on that right now in fact."

The truth is, though, that halfway through the schedule, the Huskies haven't lost. And Carey credits that to how his players handle themselves when things don't go according to plan.

"Our guys stick together," he said. "It's one thing that I think that's the sign of leadership on your football team is, there can't be any cracks in the dam. You have to be one solid group and they were, albeit frustrated and even more frustrated when we all watched the film and we stuck together, and were sticking together. We're not pointing fingers right now between Sunday, Monday and today. We're not pointing any fingers, but we're all taking our responsibility and doing it. It's the old saying; you pull the thumb before you point the finger. That's starts with me, right here."

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The Huskies start the second half of their season Saturday at Central Michigan, where they haven't won since 2005. Many of the current Huskies lost there most recently in 2011, the team's only conference loss of the season and the last loss NIU had against a MAC opponent.

"Last time we were up there, we lost. You try and learn something from it but it's hard because you see so many mistakes that you made," Carey said. "Obviously they did a good job last time we went up there and getting a fast start on us and we couldn't recover from it. So that will be something that we look to avoid."

"We don't see it as a revenge game," safety Dominique Ware said. "That was two years ago. We have a new team. They have a new team. It's all about this year."