KENT, Ohio – Cameron Stingily had huge holes to run through all game, and the senior took advantage of them.
The Northern Illinois tailback got the scoring started Saturday at Kent State, getting into the end zone from 17 yards out with 10:37 left in the opening period. He scored two touchdowns and ran for a career-high 266 yards in the Huskies' 38-24 win. NIU had 698 yards of offense, the eighth-highest total in Mid-American Conference history.
"Offensive line. I'm getting untouched for four yards," Stingily said, praising the Huskies' five linemen. "I've got a full head of steam. Linebackers and safeties, I'm the same size if not bigger. Punish them and get a chance."
The victory improves NIU's Mid-American Conference winning streak to 18 games – the longest conference winning streak in the country. The Huskies haven't lost a league game since the MAC opener at Central Michigan in 2011.
NIU (5-0, 1-0 MAC) scored two touchdowns from third-string running back James Spencer, one rushing and one receiving. Junior wide receiver Da'Ron Brown had NIU's other touchdown, a 53-yard catch from Lynch. Mathew Sims finished off the scoring with a 31-yard field goal.
NIU remained unbeaten, but Kent State (2-4, 1-2) all-world athlete Dri Archer made things tough on the Huskies. After Stingily's first touchdown, Archer took the ensuing kickoff from Tyler Wedel out of the end zone and to the house to tie the game. Archer also had a receiving touchdown, catching a 66-yard pass from Colin Reardon with 5:19 left in the first half.
Huskies coach Rod Carey decided to kick away from Archer the rest of the game.
"It worked, ball wasn't in his hands," Carey said. "Should have done it one earlier, I can tell you that." Defensively, senior safety Jimmie Ward had an interception and a fumble recovery for the Huskies. Ward has four picks on the season.
NIU held Archer in check on offense outside of the 66-yard touchdown catch. He finished with four grabs for 80 yards, and 13 yards rushing on four carries. It was Ward's job to keep an eye on him.
"[Defensive coordinator Jay] Niemann had it set up, like everywhere Archer goes I go," Ward said. "Basically I wanted to press him because I think he's a better running back than a wide receiver."
The Huskies continue conference play next Saturday at Huskie Stadium, where NIU will host 1-5 Akron.