DEKALB — Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit said he didn't see it coming.
Neither did his Broncos, as Northern Illinois routed them 51-22 Saturday before a homecoming crowd of 20,277 at Huskie Stadium.
NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish ran roughshod over the Broncos, rushing for a career-high 229 yards on just 14 carries and throwing for 203 more as the Huskies rolled up 697 total yards.
"I thought it would come down to where we would give ourselves a chance," said Cubit, whose team crumpled after taking a 15-7 lead. "We didn't give ourselves a chance."
The 697 total yards represented the second-highest total in school history, trailing only the 806 yards the Huskies had against Fresno State in 1990.
Western Michigan (4-3, 2-1) was favored to dispatch the Huskies (4-3, 2-1), who played much improved defense for the second straight week.
NIU coach Dave Doeren was pleasantly surprised at the ease with which his team ran up yardage against the Broncos.
"We ran a play toward the end of the second (quarter) that we had a big run on, and I just told our offense at halftime to run it until they stop it," he said. "I didn't want to see another play called, just change the formations and keep running this certain play. And we did and they didn't stop it."
Harnish had one run of 51 yards and averaged 16.4 yards a carry. His rushing total was the third-highest in NIU annals, trailing a pair by Stacey Robinson that included his record 308 against Fresno State. It was only the 11th time in NCAA history that a quarterback recorded at least 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing.
Asked if he had ever seen a quarterback performance like Harnish's, Cubit replied:
"No, never in my life. Not like that.
"They ran two plays … I haven't seen the film yet. To me, it looked like they just ran sweeps. They ran with the quarterback and every once in a while handed it to the running back. It was a bad performance."
Western Michigan featured the acclaimed passing duo of quarterback Alex Carder and receiver Jordan White.
"We thought we were better than we are," said Carder. "Not saying that we can't get to be the best that we can be. But we came into this game a little bit bloated, to be honest."
Can the Huskies keep up their momentum.
"This was a must win game, and we have to bring this energy to the field every week," said Harnish.
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