Northern Illinois Cornerback, Wide Receiver in World Bowl

Updated 6/26/2000
CB Duane Hawthorne Grabs Interception in Claymores' Narrow Loss

Two former MAC football playersboth from Northern Illinois made the trip to Waldstadion in Frankfurt, Germany, for World Bowl 2000. Receiver Deon Mitchell joined former NIU cover-man Duane Hawthorne on the Scotland Claymores in their 13-10 loss to the Rhein Fire.

Scotland led for most of the game until Fire running back Pepe Pearson scored with 1:12 remaining to give Rhein the win. However, with Scotland winning 7-3 in the first quarter following a Claymore touchdown, Rhein looked set to come right back and score themselves but a productive drive ended when Hawthorne intercepted Danny Wuerffel at his own 2-yard line. For Hawthorne, the interception was his league-leading fifth.

"That's tremendous for Duane and Deon," said Northern Illinois head coach Joe Novak. "That's great that they are having success at that level and the opportunity to play in the World Bowl. There's plenty of young players who get some professional seasoning in Europe and then find themselves on an NFL roster. It's good to see our kids playing at the championship level."

Hawthorne accumulated 166 career tackles, 30 career starts, 22 pass deflections, nine career pass thefts for 100 yards, and four varsity letters in 36 appearances. As a senior, he was selected Second-Team All-Mid-American Conference by the league coaches and tied for No. 37 in NCAA Division I-A interceptions (four for 37 yards). As a starter for the Cowboys in 1999, the 5-foot-10, 178-pounder finished second on the team three pass interceptions, including one off Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins, and recorded 24 tackles (20 solo) last fall for coach Chan Gailey.

From 1995-98, Mitchell re-wrote the NIU Record Book with six school records. The four-year NIU letterman finished his career ranked No. 1 in career all-purpose yardage (4,732), No. 1 in kickoff return yardage (2,349), and No. 1 in KO returns (100), No. 3 in catches (143), and No. 4 in reception yardage (1,951). Mitchell shared team MVP honors with Hawthorne as a senior in 1998 under Coach Novak.

Hawthorne and Mitchell became the second and third Northern Illinois performers to appear in a World Bowl. Former two-time All-MAC offensive lineman Todd Peat played in the 1995 game as a member of World League of American Football---the NFL Europe predecessor---champion Frankfurt Galaxy.