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Northern Illinois beats Boston College in overtime

Antario Brown Northern Illinois Antario Brown - The Canadian Press

BOSTON (AP) — Rocky Lombardi scored on a 1-yard, quick-snap quarterback sneak to end the first overtime and Northern Illinois recovered after blowing a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead to beat Boston College 27-24 on Saturday.

It’s the second time in three seasons that the Huskies have started their season by beating an Atlantic Coast Conference team, having also beaten Georgia Tech 22-21 in the 2021 opener.

Lombardi completed 13 passes for 165 yards and Antario Brown scored a pair of touchdowns — one running and one on a pass from running back Justin Lynch. But after Brock Lampe's 1-yard run gave the Huskies a 21-7 lead, BC backup quarterback Thomas Castellanos led the Eagles to a pair of touchdowns to tie it.

After BC managed a field goal in overtime, Lampe hauled in a one-handed catch on a crossing route for a 16-yard gain. Gavin Williams ran 8 yards to the 1 and then, with BC still getting its defense ready, Lombardi got under center and followed him over the goal line.

The Eagles trailed 21-7 with about nine minutes left when they went for it on a fourth-and-5 from their own 46. Castellanos was chased back inside his own 20 – 30 yards into his own backfield – before he found Lewis Bond for a 10-yard gain.

Castellanos finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to pull BC within one touchdown. After a stop, Castellanos led BC on its best drive of the day, completing a 22-yard pass to set up a 30-yard TD to Jaden Williams that tied it 21-all with 1:44 left.

NIU had two possessions – and BC had one – in the last two minutes of regulation, but could not score.

Brown scored on 7-yard pass from Lynch late in the second quarter for the only score of the first half, then ran one in from 2 yards out to make it 14-0 with about 10 minutes left in the third. He limped off with about 13 minutes left, favoring his right leg.


BC starter Emmett Morehead lasted just two series before he was replaced by Castellanos. Morehead came back in for the first drive of the second half and completed a 16-yarder on the sideline, but Castellanos replaced him for the second possession.

Morehead was 4 for 10 for 30 yards, and Castellanos was 13 for 28 for 138 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Northern Illinois had more success switching things up. With the Huskies facing a second and goal from the 7, Lynch took the snap and threw a flare out to Brown, who took it in for the score.


Northern Illinois: Visits Southern Illinois next Saturday.

Boston College: Hosts Holy Cross on Saturday.


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