[Sean King for Shaw Media]
Childers finished the game 18 for 33 for 111 yards. The Huskies’ running game was hot in the first half – and that was with a high snap on a field goal attempt counting as a minus 23-yard rush.
Carey said Childers was frustrated after the game.
“Sometimes, I think the quarterback gets too much blame and too much credit. I certainly think everyone is going to point to that last pick at the end. But there were tons of other situations in all three phases where maybe we’re not in that situation if we execute earlier in the game. That’s what I told him, and we’ll work through that, and he has to correct his mistakes, as well.”
Most of Childers’ completions went to senior Juaun Wesley, who had eight catches for 73 yards.
“Right now, we’ve got to work on finishing,” Wesley said. “Everything we do we practice hard and really we have to finish every drive we get – whether it’s practice or game.”
Smith said he expects the Huskies to come out strong next week against Central Michigan in the Mid-American Conference opener, also at Huskie Stadium.
"I believe this team we can hang with anyone in the country," Smith said. "I believe that whole-heartedly. The way we push, the way we prepare, I wouldn't trade these guys for anybody. That's the honest truth."
Earlier in the fourth, the NIU offense fumbled the ball away to Utah trailing, 7-3, but the defense got it back when Jordan Cole forced and recovered a fumble.