DeKALB, Ill. — It was a costly lesson for 24th-ranked Fresno State. And Stacey Robinson delivered it in record style.
Northern Illinois, operating out of the option, rushed for a school-record 733 yards en route to a 73-18 upset victory over the Bulldogs Saturday. In all, the Huskies gained 806 yards.
Robinson, the Huskies' quarterback, gained 308 yards in 22 carries and scored five touchdowns as Northern Illinois improved its record to 3-3 and handed Fresno State its first loss against five victories.
"We terribly underestimated the speed of their attack," Fresno State Coach Jim Sweeney said. "We were outcoached in that area. Stacey did a tremendous job of carrying the football outside. He showed more running ability than we estimated he had.
"The teams that we play are downfield passing teams. Even if they did run the option, they wouldn't run it the way (Robinson) does. He owns it."
Robinson also set a school single-game rushing record and tied the school mark for touchdowns in a game. He picked up 287 yards and all five of his touchdowns in the first half.
Fresno State came into the game with the nation's No. 2 scoring defense, giving up only 8.0 points per game. The Bulldogs had not given up a touchdown in their previous two games and had lost only once in their last 24 games.
Robinson broke the collegiate quarterback record held by Nolan Cromwell of Kansas, who rushed for 294 yards in a 1975 game against Oregon State. Cromwell went on to play safety for the Rams.
"I knew on the first series that this was going to be a good day," Robinson said. "I thought (Fresno State) was going to make me pitch the ball. But when they didn't, I was shocked.
"Records and stats are great, but my main goal was staying focused and not losing the football game."
The 73 points were the most in a Division I game this year and the most scored by the Huskies since 1921. Northern Illinois won its 11th consecutive game at home and set a single-game scoring record for Huskie Stadium. NIU also set school records for total offense (806 yards) and first downs (36).
Fresno State took a 7-0 lead on Aaron Craver's six-yard run. So much for Bulldog highlights.
Robinson scored on a 39-yard run on Northern Illinois' next possession. Then the Huskies scored five more touchdowns, taking a 42-7 lead, before Fresno State responded.
The Huskies captured the momentum on the next series when James Randall stopped Craver on a fourth-and-one gamble at the Fresno State 29. Northern Illinois grabbed the lead two plays later on a nine-yard run by Robinson.
"I felt like Fresno State was on their heels on (the fourth-down) play, and we were the aggressors," Huskies coach Jerry Pettibone said.
The Huskies drove 80 yards in 10 plays on their next possession and made it 21-7 on Adam Dach's 13-yard run.
Carl Rogan's interception early in the second quarter set up the fourth touchdown, a 35-yard run by Mike Strasser.
Robinson made it 35-7 on the next possession with a 41-yard run.
He added a 67-yard touchdown run before Fresno State countered with a 34-yard touchdown run by Mark Barsotti and a two-point conversion to make it 42-15.
The Huskies got their seventh touchdown of the half with 24 seconds remaining, on an 11-yard run by Robinson, his final score.
But Robinson wasn't the only quarterback the Bulldogs couldn't stop. Backup Rob Rugai raced 57 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.