The Huskies (4-1, 1-0) needed a late defensive stand to preserve the win.
Colin Reardon scored from the 2 midway through the fourth quarter, then found Casey Pierce with a two-point conversion pass that cut the Northern Illinois lead to three points. Jordan Italiano then picked off an Anthony Maddie pass to give the Golden Flashes the ball at their own 39.
Reardon drove Kent State to the NIU 34, but the drive stalled and a 56-yard field goal attempt by Anthony Melchiori fell short for a touchback.
Reardon was 20-of-36 for 244 yards and carried eights for 26 yards and a touchdown for Kent State (0-5, 0-1).(backslash)
Maddie was just 7 of 10 for 105 yards, but added 48 yards on eight carries.