Northern Illinois (6-1) at Akron (1-6)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 20, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: InfoCision Stadium (30,000) -- Akron, Ohio Television:
ESPN Plus. Home Record: NIU 4-0, Akron 1-3. Away Record: NIU 2-0, Akron 0-3.
Neutral Record: NIU 0-1, Akron 0-0. Conference Record: NIU 3-0, Akron 0-3.
Series Record: Northern Illinois leads, 7-5.
GAME NOTES: The Northern Illinois Huskies continue their reign as defending
Mid-American Conference champion with a visit to InfoCision Stadium to duel
the Terry Bowden led Akron Zips.
The Huskies have been dominating their MAC opposition. NIU picked up its sixth
win overall and 11th-straight league victory last week as it annihilated
Buffalo, 45-3, at Huskie Stadium. The win made NIU bowl eligible for the
fifth-straight year. Coach Dave Doeren has been sensational since taking over
the helm of the program as he enters this game with a stellar 17-4 record in
Bowden has not had the same success that has become synonymous with his last
name in the early stages of his stint at Akron. The Zips are just 1-6 without
a win against an FBS opponent, but they have shown improvement and a
competitive edge. Akron nearly staged a comeback to upset Ohio University last
week, but came up just short and lost by a six-point margin to the undefeated
and nationally ranked Bobcats. The Zips have not defeated a conference
opponent since their 2010 season-ending, 22-14 win over Buffalo, a span of 11
This will be the 13th meeting in history between the Huskies and Zips. NIU
holds a narrow 7-5 series lead after its 50-14 victory on Oct. 2, 2010, which
was the last encounter.
The Huskies are excelling this season due to its mighty offense averages of
455.6 yards and 36.9 points per game. NIU leads the MAC in rushing yards and
Jordan Lynch is at the center of NIU's attack and may be the most explosive
quarterback in the nation. He is second to only Michigan's Denard Robinson
among FBS quarterbacks with 131.1 rushing yards per game. Lynch is producing
343.6 total yards per game, which is the seventh best average in the FBS. Due
to his size, he has been described as a linebacker playing quarterback by his
Although Lynch is leading the team in rushing yards with 918 on 129 carries,
Leighton Settle is a capable back with 403 yards and 5 TDs on 93 touches.
Martel Moore is Lynch's primary target in the passing game. Moore has caught
28 passes for 543 yards and six scores this season. Tommylee Lewis and Ashford
Perez have both reeled in double-digit receptions as well.
Defensively, NIU has the fifth best scoring defense in the nation due to its
ability to stop teams in the red zone. Opponents have only scored nine
touchdowns on 28 trips inside the Huskies' 20-yard line. Due to their bend but
not break mentality, the Huskies have the second best scoring defense (19.7)
in the MAC.
Although it is not reflected in its record, Akron is an exciting team to watch
with the ninth best passing attack in the FBS (333.6 yards per game) due to a
fast-paced, no-huddle style. Dalton Williams is averaging just over 49
attempts per game and has a 19-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Williams's favorite target is Marquelo Suel, who has tallied 506 receiving
yards and four touchdowns through six games. Zach D'Orazio, Keith Sconiers,
L.T. Smith, and Dee Freison also play vital roles in Akron's spread attack.
While Akron clearly emphasizes passing in its offense, Jawon Chisholm is a
capable tailback. The sophomore has picked up 675 yards on the ground this
season after finishing just 39 yards shy of 1,000 last year as a rookie.
Chisholm has reached the 100-yard mark in each of his past three outings,
including a 177-yard outing versus Ohio last week.
The Zips are not an intimidating team defensively. Bowling Green is the only
one of their six FBS opponents to be held under 30 points. In its past four
games, Akron has allowed an embarrassing average of 562.8 yards per game.
Kurt Mangum is the leading tackler with 62 stops, 30 of which are solo stops.
J.D. Griggs is a force up front with 4.5 sacks, which is tied for sixth most
in the MAC.
Akron's offense can keep it in games if it avoids turnovers. The only way the
Huskies lose to the Zips is if they beat themselves. No one has been able to
figure out how to stop Lynch this season and Akron is very unlikely to be the
team with the antidote.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Illinois 45, Akron 27
10/17 10:47:15 ET