As the fourth quarter opens, Fresno State has found its way into Northern Illinois territory, temporarily reviving the very slender hopes the Bulldogs have of rallying to the win. But the drive breaks down on a fourth-down attempt.
From there, Northern Illinois takes over and does what the Huskies have done all game: Score. They cover 61 yards in four plays, capping it off with rushes of 35 yards by Jasmin Hopkins and eight yards by Chad Spann to take a 30-point lead.
Fresno takes another drive in NIU territory, at which point Ryan Colburn starts running for his life. He eludes one sack and the Huskies get flagged for a personal foul; on the next snap, from the Northern Illinois 8, he loses 13 yards on a sack. Another play loses ground and then Northern Illinois’ Chris Smith, who is becoming the MVP of Fresno State’s passing game, gets flagged for a pretty flagrant pass interference.
That sets up a touchdown pass to Rashad Evans, cutting the Huskies’ lead to 23 points with 5:31 to go. At this point, there is no catching up; there are only points to make the blowout look less convincing.