DEKALB, Ill. (AP) -- Marcus Childers threw for three touchdowns, and a late interception by Northern Illinois preserved the Huskies' 24-16 win over Central Michigan in a Mid-American Conference opener on Saturday.
With CMU at the Huskies' 15-yard line, Vinny Labus intercepted Tommy Lazzaro's pass that bounced off the hands of Cameron Cole with 20 seconds left.
Down 21-3, Lazzaro replaced starter Tony Poljan to begin the comeback in third quarter. Lazzaro scored on a 6-yard run to make it 21-10, and on CMU's next possession, led the Chippewas 73 yards on a drive that ended when he connected with Julian Hicks on a 4-yard scoring pass that made it 24-16 with 9:43 left.
Childers threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Spencer Tears to put the Huskies (1-2) ahead 7-3 with 4:03 before halftime. After holding Central Michigan (0-3) to three-and-out, Jack Sheldon blocked a punt and the Huskies took over at CMU's 22. Childers then completed a 7-yard scoring pass to Dennis Robinson before halftime. In the third, Childers completed a 2-yard scoring pass to D.J. Brown for an 18-point lead.
Lazzaro finished with 128 yards passing and 55 rushing.