Rocky Lombardi, Trayvon Rudolph have huge nights, but NIU falls to Kent State

Lombardi threw for 532 yards, and Rudolph had 309 receiving yards.

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Rocky Lombardi

Rocky Lombardi #12 of the Northern Illinois Huskies throws a first half pass against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Northern Illinois got record-setting performances from quarterback Rocky Lombardi and receiver Trayvon Rudolph, but it didn’t get a win, falling 52-47 to Kent State on Wednesday night in Kent, Ohio.

Lombardi (33-for-57, three touchdowns, zero interceptions)threw for an NIU single-game record 532 yards, topping the previous mark of 486 set by Phil Horvath against Akron in 2005.

Rudolph, the former Crete-Monee star, had 14 catches for an NIU single-game record 309 yards, topping the previous mark of 266 set by Sam Hurd against Central Michigan in 2005.

But all the offensive records were for naught as the defense gave up 682 yards, including 360 on the ground.

Marquez Cooper (173 yards) and Xavier Williams (103) led the Golden Flashes (5-4, 4-1 MAC) on the ground, while Dustin Crum (20-for-30) threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns.

The Huskies (6-3, 4-1) jumped to a 14-3 lead thanks to Lombardi touchdown passes to Rudolph. But Kent State scored 31 points in the second quarter to take a 31-21 halftime lead.

Lombardi hooked up with Rudolph one more time to pull the Huskies to within 38-27.

In the fourth quarter, Jay Ducker (19 carries 101 yards) ran for a touchdown and Clint Ratkovich ran for two, the second of which pulled the Huskies to make the score 52-47 with 5:07 remaining.

Lombardi was helped off the field with 5:15 left after a helmet-to-helmet hit near the goal line.

But NIU was unable to get the ball back as the Golden Flashes closed out the game with an 11-play, 87-yard drive that ended with them taking knees.

Kent State ended a 10-game losing streak in the series, getting its first win against NIU since 2001.

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