If there is a silver lining to be found in Northern Illinois' 31-27 loss on Saturday night in the…
Harnish is MAC Male Scholar-Athlete Of Week
In his collegiate debut against Minnesota, Harnish nearly led the Huskies to a miraculous upset victory over the Golden Gophers on Saturday night. Harnish completed 17-of-29 passes for 326 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday and also gained 30 yards rushing on eight carries. For his efforts, Harnish was also named the MAC Offensive Player of the Week.
The MAC Scholar Athlete of the Week honor is presented to a MAC male and female student-athlete who has a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better and performs well during that week's competition. The winners are selected by a group of the conference's faculty athletic representatives.
His net total of 336 yards of total offense leads the MAC after the first week of the season and he ranks 13th nationally in total offense and 19th in passing efficiency. His 91-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Palmer ranks as the longest pass play in the NCAA so far this year.
Harnish's 326-yard passing effort ranks as the eighth-highest total in NIU history and the most ever by a freshman. He posted the most passing yards by a Northern Illinois quarterback since Phil Horvath threw for a school record 486 yards versus Akron in 2005, and is the first Huskie signal caller to win the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week honor since that time. He compiled his totals despite not throwing a pass in the first quarter of the game.
The first freshman quarterback to start a season opener for Northern Illinois since 1985, Harnish threw touchdown passes of 91 and 52 yards to fellow freshman and Indiana native Nathan Palmer (Elkhart, Ind./Central HS) in the second half at Minnesota. Those scores erased a 24-13 deficit and gave the Huskies a 27-24 lead with 8:09 left in the game. The 91-yard play also ranks as the fifth-longest pass play in school history.
Harnish and the Huskies travel to Kalamazoo, Mich. to take on the Western Michigan Broncos in the 2008 Mid-American Conference opener Saturday at 6 p.m. (CDT). Northern Illinois opens its six-game home schedule Saturday, Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. versus Indiana State at Huskie Stadium. Tickets to all Northern Illinois games can be purchased through the NIU Athletics Ticket Office in the Convocation Center, on-line at www.niuhuskies.com or by calling 815-752-6800.
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