DEKALB, Ill. (AP) — It's been a tough week for an obviously frustrated Kansas coach Charlie Weis.
First his team lost to Rice on a late field goal. Then Saturday afternoon, the Jayhawks (1-3) let a 23-13 fourth quarter lead slip away as Northern Illinois scored 17 straight points for a 30-23 victory.
"I'm really disappointed," Weis said. "For the second time this year you have a two score lead in the second half and you can't get over that hurdle."
While its defense was giving up three scores, the Jayhawks offense could not muster a first down on their final three series.
"You don't make enough plays on offense and you don't make enough plays on defense and that's how the game ends up," Weis said.
With Kansas leading 23-20 with just over 10 minutes left in the game, quarterback Dayne Crist threw a fourth down pass from the Northern Illinois 29 yard line to a wide open Kale Pick at the five, but the ball landed in the end zone.
"I should have made that throw," Crist said. "For him to come open, that's a play that I have to make."
Weis used the Wildcat with wide receiver Christian Matthews rushing for 43 yards on five carries.
"It hurts. It's frustrating," Crist said. "It's upsetting that we weren't mentally tough to finish a game that we had a two score lead."
Northern Illinois (3-1) running back Leighton Settle scored on a 2-yard run with 4:33 left to cap a 53-yard drive and the Huskies victory. The short field was set up when Northern Illinois defensive end Joe Windsor sacked Crist on third down at the Jayhawks 18 yard line. The Northern Illinois defense had four sacks, two by Windsor and two by defensive end Alan Baxter.
"They were 4 of 16 on third down," Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren said. "That's our playmakers on defense making plays."
The Jayhawks looked to be in good shape when defensive back Tyler Patmon intercepted Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch and returned it 54-yards for a touchdown 27 seconds into the fourth quarter, giving Kansas a 23-13 lead after a missed extra point by Ron Doherty.
But on the next offensive snap, Lynch threw a Tim Tebow-like 9-yard jump pass to Martel Moore over the middle, and he ran untouched for a 65-yard score with 14:23 left, to bring the Huskies to within 23-20.
Northern Illinois kicker Mathew Sims then tied the score at 23-23 with a 44-yard field goal at the 7:58 mark.