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Maryland Falls in Overtime

Northern Illinois gets fortunate bounce on interception to secure 20-13 upset of No. 15 Terrapins.

August 29, 2003|From Associated Press

DEKALB, Ill. — The ball bounced off the leg of a defender, fluttered into the air and landed softly in the hands of a surprised Randee Drew -- a fitting ending to a wild upset.

Northern Illinois stunned No. 15 Maryland, 20-13, in overtime on Thursday night, a victory capped when Drew intercepted Scott McBrien's pass near the end zone.

The pass, intended for Latrez Harrison, hit defensive back Rob Lee in the leg as he fell backward and shot into the air.

Waiting underneath to grab it was Drew.

"Everything was in slow motion," Drew said. "One of them fell and kicked the ball and it came right to me. I guess [they] just put me in the right spot at the right time."

It took the Huskies a moment to realize what had happened. When they did, the team rushed the field to celebrate only their third victory ever over a ranked team.

Afterward, Coach Joe Novak was still confused.

"Could somebody tell me what happened?" Novak said. "All I know is everyone said we won, so I was going to go along with it."

Northern Illinois got the ball first in overtime and scored three plays later when Josh Haldi threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Dan Sheldon. Sheldon caught Haldi's pass at the 15, spun around a defender and raced into the end zone for the game-winning score. Haldi was 21 of 35 for 266 yards and two touchdowns.

Northern Illinois had a chance to win in regulation but Steve Azar's 43-yard field-goal attempt was partially blocked by Madieu Williams with 1.3 seconds left.

The attempt was set up by a roughing the passer call on D'Qwell Jackson, one of several costly penalties against the Terrapins.

In all, Maryland was called for nine penalties for 90 yards.

"I thought we did a lot of foolish things that really hurt us. We didn't make the plays that we needed to make," Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen said. "We had opportunities, we just didn't make them."

Maryland is the highest-ranked opponent Northern Illinois has ever beaten. The Huskies defeated No. 20 Bowling Green last season, and knocked off No. 24 Fresno State in 1990.

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