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End of the Line: Red Wolves fall to Huskies 38-20 in Bowl

Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 15:01

Mobile, Ala

            After a dominating 13-0 first quarter for ASU, the wheels quickly fell off for the Sun Belt champions amid turnovers and injuries as the Red Wolves fell 38-20 to Northern Illinois in the 2012 Bowl.

            After seven turnovers, the loss of star receiver Dwayne Frampton and 28 unanswered points, the Red Wolves lost their first game since Sept. 17 against Virginia Tech to finish their 2011-12 season with a 10-3 record.

            "We knew going into the game of their scoring capability and that we couldn't afford to dig a hole for ourselves," said interim head coach David Gunn. "Many things have transpired over the last 30 days, but these young men have shown great resolve over that period of time."

            On a warm January night at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, the Red Wolves came out punching, scoring on their first three drives: two Brian Davis field goals of 32 and 36 yard respectively and a two-yard touchdown run from junior quarterback Ryan Aplin with less than a minute to go in the first quarter.

            "We started out mentally prepared and physically prepared. We were still making a few mistakes and had a couple of big plays early," said junior receiver Taylor Stockemer. "We just made a couple of mistakes and got out of rhythm and I don't think we ever got back into a rhythm."

            After keeping the Huskies (11-3) to just three yards of offense on their first two drives, senior quarterback Chandler Harnish led the MAC champions to pay dirt on an 11 play, 77-yard drive to put NIU on the board with 49 seconds left in the game.

            NIU had to convert on fourth down twice on that drive, one being on a fake field goal attempt on 4th and 4 from the ASU 15. The first down was unreviewable according to the ACC referees working the game.

            Harnish went on to complete a touchdown pass to Perez Ashford to make it 13-7.

            The Huskies would score on three of their next six drives behind touchdown runs from backup quarterback Jordan Lynch and Jamal Wamble and a 43 yard pass form Harnish to Martel Moore on a one-play drive two minutes into the second half.

            The turning point for ASU came when Frampton caught a five-yard pass with less than four minutes to go in the first half. Afterwards, Frampton laid on his back for a lengthy amount of time before he was helped off the field. Frampton was diagnosed with a torn MCL and did not return.

            Frampton was replaced at the punt return position by Rod Hall who fumbled a punt return to NIU at the Red Wolve 43, setting up the Wamble score.

            "He was obviously our leading receiver. A great athlete, a great player," Stockemer said. "He helps us win a lot of games, he's made a lot of play that have pushed us. We have people that can turn around and make plays, but it was a tough adjustment for awhile.

            Stockemer was the Red Wolves leading receiver, with 11 catches for 185 yards and one touchdown. The performance set an ASU record for receptions and receiving yards in a post-season game.

            Stockemer's 16-yard touchdown grab came with 11 minutes left in the game when an off balance Aplin found the 6-foot-4inches receiver on the edge of the end zone for an acrobatic jump ball to give ASU its final score.

            "I think they had every body covered and that was the only route in the end zone and either I was going to catch it or it was going to go out of bounds," recounted Stockemer. "So he just threw it up and I kind of played basketball and got a rebound there."

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