The NIU Huskies held off the UNLV Runnin' Rebels in the 2015 college football season opener for both teams, thanks in large part to the performance of defensive end Austin Smaha, a product of Belvidere North High School.
Smaha recorded three tackles, a tackle for loss, and a sack, which came at a critical juncture during a UNLV drive in the second half. "It was really all about preparation. You have to get in the film and know what they're doing and all that," said Smaha of the sack. "I knew it was going to be a pass and worked on a move I've been working on in practice and it worked. I just had to get thrown into the game and get some chances and I'll take advantage of them."
"It was good to see Austin in there making some plays. Got him into a rotation situation, came in and made a few plays. He's had a great camp, but he needs to keep building on it so that he can get more opportunities out there," said NIU head football coach Rod Carey.
The junior has changed positions during his time with the Huskies, and is thrilled to see his work pay off after a memorable run with the Blue Thunder in high school. "Makes it all worth it in the end. It's been three years since high school. I've been on scout team a couple years and doing what I can for the team, and it really pays off now."