Former NIU head coach snags a Big Ten promotion

After six seasons in DeKalb, Rod Carey was feeling restless, pressured. Not sure exactly, but there must have been some reason he resigned at Northern Illinois and moved to Temple in 2019.

Carey joined a long list of coaches that haven't been able to turn Temple into anything special, getting chopped after just three years.

What's he up to now? Turns out, Carey just rose to a more prominent role at Indiana. After a lackluster start to the season, the Hoosiers canned offensive coordinator Walt Bell during the bye week and promoted Carey from quality control coach to OC.

Carey made his play-calling debut against Michigan on Saturday. The Hoosiers lost 52-7, but scored a nice touchdown on a double pass and the game was tied 7-7 with four minutes left in the second quarter. So it wasn't all bad, in theory.

"The thought process is do what we can to simplify, to accentuate some things that we can do, do those more," Carey said when taking the job, according to the Indiana Daily Student. "There is not a magic wand here. It's the little things, it's the details. ... Those little things tend to make a big difference."

Carey was an offensive lineman at Indiana from 1990-93. Last season, he was named the Hoosiers' interim offensive line coach before returning to the quality control role.

Carey's first game as a college head coach came in the Orange Bowl after Dave Doeren left NIU for North Carolina State between the MAC title game and the Huskies' first trip to a New Year's Bowl in 2012.

Current coach Thomas Hammock's odds of sticking around at Northern Illinois are looking up. The Huskies pulled off their best win since Week 1 on Saturday, beating 5-1 Ohio this weekend. NIU outscored the Bobcats 16-0 in the second half.

An Illini upset:

Big Ten math was on display in College Park, Md. Illinois was coming off a pair of ugly losses to Nebraska and Purdue. Maryland held a lead in the third quarter at Ohio State the previous week. So naturally, the Illini recorded its first conference win 27-24 on a game-ending field goal by Caleb Griffin.

Watching the highlights, it felt like this was the best performance of the year by Illini QB Luke Altmyer. Checking the stats, he threw for just 206 yards with an interception. But the Ole Miss transfer made big plays when needed.

It's probably too late for Illinois to get back into the Big Ten West race, but can create some havoc when hosting Wisconsin on Saturday.

Division 3 report:

No. 1-ranked North Central, No. 12 Aurora and No. 14 Wheaton rolled to easy wins last weekend, while Lake Forest stayed undefeated. But while the path has been smooth for the Illinois powers, Wisconsin-Whitewater, typically loaded with local players, faced six straight ranked teams to open the season and went 5-1.

Last Saturday, the Warhawks beat No. 4 Wisconsin-River Falls 21-14. Whitewater's top receivers are from the area, including Steven Hein (St. Charles North) and Nick Wind (Montini). LB Joey Antonietti (Lyons) is the team's leading tackler and has 4 interceptions.

Local player of the week: Junior safety Dillon Gearhart (St. Charles East) had a career-high 11 tackles in Illinois State's 44-7 win over Indiana State.

Results-based top 5: 1. Oklahoma, 2. Washington, 3. Florida State, 4. Oregon State, 5. Texas.

Interesting game of the week: The Big Ten's three-game championship series finally begins Saturday with No. 7 Penn State playing at No. 3 Ohio State. Then we'll have to wait until Nov. 11 for Michigan at Penn State.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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