Northern Illinois (7-1) at Western Michigan (3-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 27, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Waldo Stadium (30,200) -- Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Television: ESPN Plus, ESPN3. Home Record: NIU 4-0, WMU 3-1. Away Record: NIU
3-0, WMU 0-4. Neutral Record: NIU 0-1, WMU 0-0. Conference Record: NIU 4-0,
WMU 1-3. Series Record: Western Michigan leads, 23-14.
GAME NOTES: The Northern Illinois Huskies look to continue their dominance of
the Mid-American Conference when they invade Waldo Stadium to take on the
Western Michigan Broncos.
NIU is one of just three teams in the FBS, along with Oregon and Alabama, to
have won 16 of its last 17 games. The Huskies handed Akron a 37-7 loss last
week for their 12th straight win in league action. Coach Dave Doeren has been
sensational since taking over the helm of the program last season as he enters
this game with a stellar 18-4 record.
The Broncos were unable to overcome their six turnovers against Kent State
last week and lost, 41-24. It was the second setback in a row for WMU, which
is just 1-3 in MAC play. The Broncos have been a much tougher team at home
than on the road this season. They are 3-1 at Waldo Stadium this season as
Toledo has been the only triumphant visitor.
Although NIU has won three straight in the series, the Broncos hold a 23-14
edge in the rivalry's history. The Huskies ran past WMU for a 51-22 victory in
DeKalb last season.
The Huskies are excelling this season due to an unstoppable offense which
carries averages of 464.6 yards and 36.8 points per game. NIU leads the MAC in
rushing yards and points scored.
Jordan Lynch is at the center of NIU's attack and may be the most explosive
quarterback in the nation. He is the leader of all FBS quarterbacks with 131.1
rushing yards per game. Lynch is producing 344.9 total yards per game, which
is the sixth best average in the FBS. Due to his size, he has been described
as a linebacker playing quarterback by his head coach.
Although Lynch is leading the team in rushing yards with 918 on 129 carries,
Leighton Settle is a capable back with 453 yards and 5 TDs on 101 touches.
Martel Moore is Lynch's primary target in the passing game. Moore has caught
41 passes for 597 yards and seven of the team's 13 touchdown receptions.
Tommylee Lewis and Ashford Perez have both managed to tally over 200 receiving
yards as well.
Defensively, NIU allows opponents to pick up decent yardage but still manages
to keep they from lighting up the scoreboard. Due to their bend but not break
mentality, the Huskies have the second best scoring defense (18.3) in the MAC.
Joe Windsor and Alan Baxter have both shown great pass rushing ability this
season. Windsor has recorded 6.5 sacks and 10 total tackles for loss while
Baxter has produced 6.0 sacks and eight tackles for loss. Jimmie Ward is a key
component of the defense with a team-high of 67 tackles and two interceptions.
Although it has been sporadic, the WMU offense has been effective overall this
season, scoring 28.6 ppg on 431.3 ypg.
Tyler Van Tubbergen has been streaky as the team's quarterback since taking
over the job for the injured Alex Carder earlier in the season. Van Tubbergen
passed for a career-high 333 yards and a touchdown against Kent State his last
time out, but he was also intercepted three times in the loss. He has eight
touchdowns to nine interceptions on the season.
Jaime Wilson has been one of the MAC's busiest receiver this season with 59
catches. He is also among the conference leaders in yards (706) and touchdowns
(six). Opposite Wilson is Josh Schaffer, who has caught 38 balls for 517 yards
and three scores. Wilson set new career-highs last week with 151 yards and
nine catches against Kent State.
Dareyon Chance (111 carries, 628 yards, two TDs) has provided a 100-yard
rushing performance in three different games this season. Brian Fields offers
a change of pace in the backfield, picking up 339 rushing yards and two scores
on 62 carries.
The WMU defense held Kent State to 384 yards of total offense its last time
out. Although the Broncos' scoring defense (27.4 ppg) is ranked fifth in the
conference, its total defense (371.3 ypg) trails only Bowling Green.
Johnnie Simon is the heart and soul of the defense with a team-high 75 tackles
and one interception. Justin Currie, Terry Easmon, and Desmond Bozeman are all
vital role players and each have 50 tackles or more. The unit can create
plenty of pressure on the quarterback, with Bozeman (four sacks), Deauntay
Legrier (3.5 sacks) and Paul Hazel (four sacks) all charging off the line.
Lewis Toler is a playmaker in the secondary with three interceptions and a
pair of pass breakups.
The Huskies have been destroying the opposition as of late and have been
nearly invincible in MAC competition. The Broncos need to hang on to the ball
better in this one or they will quickly become NIU's next victim.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Illinois 31, Western Michigan 14
10/24 10:31:56 ET
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