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Top Northern Illinois LB transfers to TCU

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Northern Illinois’ sizable loss has turned into TCU’s significant gain.

Late last month, NIU head coach Rod Carey confirmed that Jawuan Johnson had decided to transfer out of his football program.  Less than two weeks later, Johnson announced on Twitter that he has decided to transfer to TCU.

As Johnson is set to graduate from NIU in May, he will be eligible to play for the Horned Frogs in 2018. The upcoming season will serve as the linebacker’s last year of eligibility.

This past season, Johnson started all 13 games for the Huskies. He led the team with five interceptions and eight passes defensed. His 98 tackles were second on the team, as were his 18 tackles for loss. He totaled four sacks, which were third on the squad.

Northern Illinois losing one of its top defensive players to transfer

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This development will definitely leave a mark.

This week, Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey confirmed that Jawuan Johnson will not return to the Huskies for the 2018 season and will instead transfer. No reason for the abrupt and unexpected departure was given.

As Johnson is set to graduate from NIU in May, he would be eligible to play for another FBS program this coming season if that’s the tack he takes. The upcoming season will serve as the linebacker’s last year of eligibility.

Johnson’s loss is a significant one for Carey and his defense.

This past season, Johnson started all 13 games for the Huskies. He led the team with five interceptions and eight passes defensed. His 98 tackles were second on the team, as were his 18 tackles for loss. He totaled four sacks, which were third on the squad.

Northern Illinois AD slams UCF, AAC for Power Six and national title talk

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UCF proclaiming themselves national champions is the gift that keeps on giving in terms of offseason storylines. The latest person to get riled up over the Knights’ stunt after last season? Northern Illinois AD Sean Frazier.

“Don’t try to bully the committee,” Frazier told CBS Sports. “That’s what these guys are doing now. If you want to put a banner up that says ‘national championship,’ God bless you. You can do that. I’ve got no problem with [White] doing that. But to say they should have been in the final four is an unrealistic expectation.”

He added: “So I’m supposed to give them [respect] because they’ve got some false narrative of P6? No… I think people know that. That’s the reason they don’t have a [Power Five designation] now is those teams have not historically been good in football. That’s why there is a Big East basketball and American in football. [The market] looked at the football, and they were horrible. That was the difference.”

Don’t, uh, hold back there Sean.

AAC commish Mike Aresco predictably shot back in the same piece by saying that the results speak for themselves. The AAC has captured half of the four Group of Five bids since the formation of the College Football Playoff, with the MAC and Mountain West splitting the other two.

Frazier has previously tried to advocate for the Group of Five forming its own playoff in the past but it seems that all the marketing talk out of Orlando was really a bit too much for him when asked about it again. He’s unlikely to be the only who is tired of all the UCF love though and went on the record to say what many were thinking.

It’s too bad that the Huskies schedule is full in 2018 because UCF-Northern Illinois would be a heck of a game for the fireworks on (and off) the field.

Duke rolls past Northern Illinois in Quick Lane Bowl

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Duke used a big day from quarterback Thomas Jones and a baffling fake punt attempt to roll past Northern Illinois for a 36-14 win in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit.

Trailing 7-0 with 4:32 to play in the first quarter, Northern Illinois punter Matt Ference trotted onto the field for what everyone thought would be a boot from his own end zone. Everyone but him, that is.

Instead, Ference decided to pass. It was fourth and 18.

Duke (7-6) took over at the NIU 11-yard line and needed three plays to score, a 1-yard Shaun Wilson run that gave the Blue Devils a 14-0 lead a dozen minutes into the game.

Northern Illinois (8-5) struck back with two quick scoring drives. The first was a 2-play, 68-yard drive that saw Marcus Childers hit Spencer Tears for a 43-yard gain and then Tre Harbison score on a 25-yard rush. After forcing a three-and-out, the Huskies tied the game on a 67-yard strike from Childers to Jauan Wesley, knotting the score at 14-14 with 12:22 left in the first half.

Duke re-gained the lead on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Jones to T.J. Rahming, but William Holmquist‘s PAT missed. The Blue Devils pushed their lead back to two scores with an 11-yard swing pass from Jones to Wilson with 1:33 left before the break, but Jones’s 2-point pass was intercepted in the end zone.

 

Jones fumbled at the NIU 31-yard line to open the second half, but atoned for the mistake by leading an 11-play, 67-yard touchdown drive that culminated in a 7-yard Brittain Brown run that put the Blue Devils up 33-14 at the 6:58 mark of the third quarter. Duke ended any chance of a Hail Mary comeback with a 16-play drive that consumed the entire first half of the fourth quarter, ending in a 24-yard Holmquist field goal to push the lead to 22. Derrick Tangelo all but ended the game with a sack of Childers on 4th-and-5 from midfield with six and a half minutes remaining.

Jones finished the game hitting 27-of-40 throws for 252 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing 16 times for a game-high 86 yards and a touchdown. Wilson and Brown combined to carry 29 times for 116 yards and two additional scores. Childers completed 15-of-26 passes for 234 yards with a touchdown and no picks, and Harbison rushed 13 times for 59 yards and a touchdown.

The win handed Duke its fifth bowl victory ever, and just its second since 1962. Northern Illinois dropped to 0-5 in bowl games under head coach Rod Carey. Not surprisingly, this was the first all-time meeting between the Blue Devils and the Huskies.

Fake punt gaffe helps Duke take halftime lead over NIU in Quick Lane Bowl

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A fake punt gaffe the likes of which you’ll probably never see again has pushed Duke to a 26-14 halftime lead over Northern Illinois in the Quick Lane Bowl.

Trailing 7-0 with 4:32 to play in the first quarter, Northern Illinois punter Matt Ference trotted onto the field for what everyone thought would be a boot from his own end zone. Everyone but him, that is.

Instead, Ference decided to pass. It was fourth and 18.

Duke took over at the NIU 11-yard line and needed three plays to score, a 1-yard Shaun Wilson run that gave the Blue Devils a 14-0 lead a dozen minutes into the game.

Northern Illinois struck back with two quick scoring drives. The first was a 2-play, 68-yard drive that saw Marcus Childers hit Spencer Tears for a 43-yard gain and then Tre Harbison score on a 25-yard rush. After forcing a three-and-out, the Huskies tied the game on a 67-yard strike from Childers to Jauan Wesley, knotting the score at 14-14 with 12:22 left in the first half.

Duke re-gained the lead on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Jones to T.J. Rahming, but William Holmquist‘s PAT missed. The Blue Devils pushed their lead back to two scores with an 11-yard swing pass from Jones to Wilson with 1:33 left before the break, but Jones’s 2-point pass was intercepted in the end zone.

Jones hit 16-of-23 passes for 178 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing six times for a team-high 28 yards and another score. Wilson added 10 carries for 23 yards and a touchdown.

For Northern Illinois, Childers connected on 6-of-10 passes for 141 yards with a touchdown with eight carries for 20 yards, while Harbison led all runners with 53 yards on nine carries with one touchdown.

Duke will receive to open the second half.