Drew Hare found Chad Beebe for a 18-yard touchdown with 6:00 remaining to give Northern Illinois a 21-14 victory over Ohio. The Huskies never trailed en route to winning their fifth straight game.
The Bobcats were driving in search of the tying-score when Landon Smith fumbled after a reception at the Northern Illinois 33-yard line, which sealed the game.
“It’s frustrating,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said. “It’s a disappointing loss. We played fairly well, but not good enough to win.”
Josiah Yazdani had two 46-yard field goal attempts that came up identically short. Solich said he’ll have second thoughts about the decisions to kick, but he was confident in his kicker.
“(Yazdani) had kicked them very well from that distance pregame,” Solich said. “We felt he had the leg to do it, he just didn’t hit it well.”
Hare completed 15 of his 23 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 67 yards on the ground.
NIU (9-2, 6-1 MAC) running back Cameron Stingily finished with 43 rushing yards and a two-yard touchdown. Akeem Daniels accounted for the Huskies’ other score, a 32-yard screen pass from Hare.
A.J. Ouellette scored both touchdowns for Ohio (5-6, 3-4 MAC). Ouellette, a freshman, rushed for 127 yards and juked his way around the NIU defense for a 12-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He reeled in his second touchdown reception of the season in the fourth quarter when Derrius Vick found him on a slant to tie the game at 14. Tuesday was Ouellette’s fourth multi-score game of the season.
“It’s definitely disappointing,” Ouellette said of the loss. “We tried to win it for the seniors. They’ve all been a big help to me this year.”
Vick finished 19 of 28 for 141 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Vick also racked up 80 rushing yards in the defeat.
Ohio outgained Northern Illinois 203-141 on the ground. The Huskies entered the game averaging over 261 rushing yards per game.
The Green & White will look to become bowl eligible and level their record at rival Miami on Tuesday. The last time that Ohio finished with a sub-.500 record was 2008.