Northern Illinois receiver Martel Moore caught eight passes for 224 yards and a touchdown as the Huskies came back from a daunting early deficit to beat Arkansas State in college football’s GoDaddy.com Bowl on Sunday.
The Huskies trailed 13-0 late in the first quarter, but the Mid-American Conference champions scored 31 unanswered points on the way to their ninth straight victory.
It was the third time this season Northern Illinois (11-3) rallied from a double-digit deficit to win.
Arkansas State jumped out to an early 13-0 lead, but that was almost disappointing considering the Red Wolves had to settle for two short field goals instead of touchdowns. Brian Davis connected on field goals from 32 and 36 yards before Aplin found the end zone on a 2-yard run.
Harnish hit Perez Ashford on a nine-yard touchdown pass two plays after a disputed spot on fourth down kept the drive alive, pulling the Huskies to within 13-7 just before the end of the first quarter.
The Huskies briefly lost Harnish because of his injured left ankle early in the second quarter, but backup Jordan Lynch engineered a seven-play, 78-yard drive that ended on his three-yard touchdown run to give NIU a 14-13 lead with 4 minutes, 49 seconds left in the first half.
Harnish returned to lead the Huskies on another touchdown drive just before halftime.
Arkansas State briefly regained momentum early in the third quarter after Chaz Scales intercepted Harnish’s pass, but Northern Illinois got the ball back three plays later when Jhony Faustin intercepted Aplin. On the next play, Harnish threw a 43-yard touchdown to Moore to extend the lead to 28-13.
Arkansas State briefly pulled within 31-20 on Aplin’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Stockemer, but Northern Illinois responded with an interception that Dechante Durante returned for a touchdown, effectively ending the contest.