SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- Once they found their footing on the rain soaked field, the Northern Illinois Huskies ran into the record books and earned their first bowl victory in over two decades.
Quarterback Josh Haldi rushed for a pair of first-half scores and Garrett Wolfe and A.J. Harris both had touchdown runs as Northern Illinois rallied for a 34-21 victory over Troy in the Silicon Valley Classic.
Freshman quarterback D.T. McDowell capped the Trojans' opening drive with a one-yard touchdown run and threw a 23-yard scoring strike to Jermaine Richardson on their next possession to give Troy (7-5) a 14-0 lead just under nine minutes into the first bowl game in school history.
"Things were going great," McDowell said. "But I told the guys that we have to play like it is still 0-0."
"Certainly, when it was 14-0, I was awful nervous," Northern Illinois coach Joe Novak said. "But our kids have been in that position before and I was really proud of how they kept their poise."
But the Huskies (9-3) battled back, scoring 34 consecutive points en route to their first bowl victory since beating Cal State-Fullerton, 20-13, in the 1983 California Bowl.
"It has been a long time coming, but it was a great win," Novak said. "We got the bowl opportunity and we won a bowl. So we took another step with our program."
Northern Illinois rushed for 218 yards and a Silicon Valley Classic record four touchdowns against Troy's vaunted rushing defense. The Trojans defense was ranked seventh in the nation, allowing just 90.7 yards on the ground per game this season, and had not surrendered more than 200 rushing yards in 22 consecutive games.
Wolfe, who ran 15 times for 84 yards, scampered 50 yards for a touchdown with 4:36 remaining in the opening quarter to halve the Huskies' deficit and get the offense started.
"Once Garrett popped that (touchdown run), we kind of got back into the flow a little bit," Haldi said. "It took us a couple of series there to get the game speed. We started making plays and getting it going."
Free safety Lionel Hickenbottom, who was named defensive MVP, picked off a pass on the Trojans' ensuing possession to set up the first of two one-yard scoring runs by Haldi.
Northern Illinois kicker Chris Nendick hit a 30-yard field goal to snap a 14-14 tie early in the second quarter and Haldi capped a seven-play, 56-yard drive with another touchdown to give the Huskies a 24-14 lead at the half.
After Wolfe left with a hip injury at halftime, Harris took over the game, rushing 23 times for a career-high 126 yards and scoring on a four-yard run in the fourth.
"When it was his time in the second half, he played great and he really helped us come back and win that football game," Novak said.
Wolfe and Harris, both juniors, were the second best combination of running backs in the nation, averaging a combined 227.4 yards per game this season. Wolfe scored 20 touchdowns during the regular season, finishing tied for the NCAA lead.
Haldi finished 8-of-24 for 146 yards without an interception.
Despite poor field conditions, senior DeWitt Betterson rushed for 150 yards on 25 carries in his final game for Troy, earning offensive MVP honors for the game.
"The field started take a toll and were slipping and falling," Betterson said. "I just tried to finish the game better than I started."
McDowell was 6-of-20 for 122 yards with one TD and an interception in the Trojans' first postseason game since joining Division I-A four years ago.
"A loss puts a damper on me and the guys," Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. "It is not the end of the world though. We played a really good team and we made some errors in all three phases."