One of the many things on Northern Illinois University’s campus that was canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic was the 2020 NIU Spring Game. The Spring Game is used as the first live reps for players to make an impression on coaches, fans, and the media. This game is of the utmost importance to the younger players in the program, and something they will unfortunately not have for this season. I recently stumbled upon a relatively updated roster of the 2020 NIU Football team thanks to my Huskies On Tap co-host Ethan Wiles. With the new rosters, no spring game, and the fact that most of our players have never seen themselves as a player in a video game, made it a no-brainer to play this game for our followers and listeners.
From the jump, it was apparent that Ethan’s offense was fed through Michael Love as he finished the game with over 200 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Ethan spent a majority of the game slinging the ball all over the yard with Ross Bowers as he finished the game with 450 yards and four touchdowns in the air. On the defensive side of the ball for Ethan, FS Eddie Jackson led the way with eight solo tackles and an interception. Overall, Ethan’s undoing was the turnovers late in the first half and late in the game while he was on the comeback trail. “I liked the way Ross threw the ball. He had a huge night connecting with Michael Love. They just ran our defense into the ground. They controlled the clock. We have a great team at NIU this season. You get this group of players together on one team? See ya in Detroit, baby.”
Ethan’s Offensive MVP: QB Ross Bowers
Ethan’s Defensive MVP: MLB Vinny Labus
For myself, I got off to a slow start as Ethan jumped out to an early 14-3 lead. I had trouble getting my offense going, but I was led by QB Dustin Fletcher, who finished the day with 400 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. I kept Ethan guessing with an attack that was equal parts passing and running. Fletcher was able to connect with WR Dennis Robinson three times to the tune of 95 yards and a touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, Jashon Prophette turned the game on its head with a late first-half interception, then Kyle Pugh put the dagger on Ethan’s comeback late in the game on a forced fumble to put the game out of reach.
My Offensive MVP: QB Dustin Fletcher
My Defensive MVP: MLB Kyle Pugh
I clipped together the best plays from the game and it is linked below in the video!