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Buckeyes praise NIU: 'That actually felt more like a Big Ten team'

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Buckeyes praise NIU: 'That actually felt more like a Big Ten team'

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Northern Illinois has been to the Orange Bowl. It's beaten Big Ten teams. But perhaps praise from the No. 1 team in the country is as good an example of how far this program has come as any.

"That's a heck of a football team," Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee said after the Buckeyes narrowly defeated the Huskies, 20-13, on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. "That actually felt more like a Big Ten team, to be honest with you. ... We tip our hat to them, they played a heck of a ballgame on both sides of the ball. Their quarterback made plays for them, a couple other guys made plays for them.

"They came in here ready to play, and that's a heck of a football team."

Northern Illinois fans are no strangers to comparing their team to those in the Big Ten, frequently pointing out the high win totals that have at times contrasted with those of the Land of Lincoln's resident Big Ten teams, Illinois and Northwestern.

[MORE: Defense keeps Buckeyes unbeaten, but offense struggles in win vs. NIU]

But Ohio State associating NIU with the style of play typically found in the Big Ten — one of toughness — might earn even more pride.

“They were really physical running the ball. They had great offensive linemen that were pushing us back a little bit," cornerback Eli Apple said. "You’ve just got to give credit to them, they were a great team all around.”

The Huskies themselves didn't take too much pride in leaving Columbus with a loss, even if it was just a seven-point defeat against the country's top team, the defending champs.

"We wanted to run our offense, which we did for the most part," NIU head coach Rod Carey said. "We tried to make people defend the field vertically and horizontally, and I think for the most part we accomplished that as far as X's and O's wise. Execution wise, no, we didn't do that enough."

Northern struggled on offense against a tremendous Ohio State defense, amassing just 190 total yards and only 80 through the air. But the Huskies took advantage of some poor play by the Buckeyes' offense, on the receiving side of five turnovers. NIU led after the first quarter, was tied with Ohio State at the half and had multiple opportunities to tie the game or re-take the lead in the fourth quarter.

The almosts, though, are not something NIU wants to be happy about.

[MORE: Who's the quarterback? Buckeyes don't seem to know]

In the eyes of many, however, this will go down as a real "quality" loss. If NIU manages to keep winning, folks looking at the results and seeing just a touchdown loss to Ohio State could get the Huskies involved in some impressive postseason conversations.

Earning the respect of those who make those decisions will come. Earning the respect of Saturday's opponent has already happened.

“They’re very well coached. They’ve got good players, but they’re very well coached," Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said. "You can look out there, you know they’ve got a scheme, they’re going to stick to their scheme, they’re going to do what it is that they do, they’re not going to change on a whim. And that’s when you know that you’ve got a heck of a program. And that’s what they showed today."

DePaul extends contract of women's basketball head coach Doug Bruno through 2023-24

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USA TODAY

DePaul extends contract of women's basketball head coach Doug Bruno through 2023-24

One of the icons of DePaul athletics is sticking around.

Monday, DePaul extended the contract of women's basketball head coach Doug Bruno through the 2023-24 season. Bruno just wrapped up his 32nd season as head coach of his alma mater, leading DePaul to its 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament.

While the Blue Demons were eliminated in the Round of 32 this March, Bruno has led the program to the Sweet 16 three of the last eight seasons.

“I am so thankful to be working at a great institution like DePaul,” Bruno said in a press release. “I never would have been here without coach Ray Meyer who gave me a basketball scholarship, Frank McGrath and Gene Sullivan who hired me in the 1970s."

Behind Bruno, DePaul went 27-8 in 2017-18, winning its fifth-straight Big East regular-season title. The Blue Demons also won their third Big East Tournament title in five years, defeating rival Marquette 98-63. Bruno also picked up his 700th career victory in February, defeating conference-foe Butler 86-68.

“I’ve been fortunate to have great assistant coaches through all the years,” he said. “My current staff is absolutely one of the best in the country.

"Most important, the reason you succeed is the players. I’ve been blessed to have tremendous student-athletes help build the DePaul women’s basketball legacy.

“I am excited about this contract extension because we still have work to do. As proud as we are of everything we have achieved, our expectation through the length of this extension is to take the Blue Demons to even higher places.”

 

Loyola rewards Porter Moser with multi-year contract extension

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USA TODAY

Loyola rewards Porter Moser with multi-year contract extension

Loyola is rewarding Porter Moser for his basketball team's success this season.

Loyola and Moser have agreed to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Wednesday. The deal is through the 2025-26 season.

"We are excited to be able to announce a new contract for Porter that will keep him at Loyola a long time," Loyola Director of Athletics Steve Watson said. "He is the perfect fit for Loyola and operates his program the right way, with student-athletes who achieve excellence on the court and in the classroom and are also excellent representatives of the institution.

"We are fortunate to work at a university like Loyola, that values and has made a commitment to athletics. It is nice to reward Porter not just for an outstanding season, but also for the job he has done during his time here."

That's a well-deserved extension for a head coach who led the Ramblers to a NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1985.

As the 11th seed, Loyola exceeded all expectations, shocking the world with a Final Four appearance. The Ramblers took down No. 6 Miami, No. 3 Tennessee, No. 7 Nevada, and No. 9 Kansas State before losing to No. 3 Michigan, who would go on to lose to No. 1 Villanova in the championship game.

Loyola finished the regular season with a 28-5 record and a MVC Championship.

In seven seasons, Moser has a 121-111 record with the Ramblers, though three of his last four have been winning seasons.