Northern Illinois vs. Central Michigan Preview

Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Northern Illinois Huskies take on the Central Michigan Chippewas in Huskies Stadium for the MAC opener.

As Taxmna588 pointed out in his FanPost, this series has been close in terms of each teams getting a piece of each other, but the wins have been pretty one-sided in terms of victory margin:

But CMU has done the one thing that NIU has not done this year. They beat Iowa. While not a large accomplishment, the Chippewas deserved that win and will be riding high coming into DeKalb on Saturday, so an NIU win may not be set in stone just yet.

If we're still in the most recent era of alternating victories, then the game this Saturday won’t be close and the home team will win.

The question is, will the 6-year long era continue, or will a new era begin?

Last year's game truly was disappointing. It's always tough to start the conference slate on the road, but the defense literally couldn't stop anybody. After mounting a 17-0 lead, Central Michigan didn't let up and managed to survive a burst of 25 Huskie points in the 4th quarter. 563 yards given up, not to mention two interceptions by Chandler Harnish.

However this year is different. The defense is the strength of the team and it doesn't seem like the offense has fallen off that much. Both teams are coming off of big wins, but arguably CMU the biggest one. They miraculously kicked a 47 field goal to beat Iowa after recovering and onside kick. Obviously, the similar opponent is Iowa but the margins are just to close to nitpick and compare the two.

The main strength the Huskies have is starting off the conference at home and having a staunch defense this year. CMU is no slouch, returning eight starters on both sides of the ball. Last year this team was extremely young, but as evidenced by last week they have a chance to surprise some teams.

Players to watch

QB Ryan Radcliff threw 17 TDs and 17 INTs last year. That just about sums him up.

WR Titus Davis - The former Wheaton South standout is a playmaker coming off a 72 yard, 2 TD performance to put the Chips over the Hawkeyes last week. He leads one of the most solid group of receivers in the MAC. The 5'10" Cody Wilson also makes a bunch of catches and is also the teams punt returner.

RB Zurlon Tipton is in the top 25 rushers in america averaging almost 105 yds per game, however 180 of those yds were against SEMO. CMU has only played three games so far, so who knows how this running game is going to hold up against a team like NIU.

SS Jahleel Addae is a big playmaker on defense and led the team in tackling last year. This year soph MLB Justin Cherocci is leading the team in tackles with almost 11 per game.

Keys to the game:

  • Stay disciplined on defense - The secondary has to just keep living up to their potential as one of the best units in the MAC. CMU will be one of the biggest tests of the season. They ran all over us last year and I'm sure this unit wants to prove themselves.
  • Don't get behind early - Last year the team got psyched out and went behind 17 points early on in the game. Not turning the ball over helps in this case. No pick-6's Lynch, please. No mistakes.
  • Revenge factor - Huskies want this one bad. Don't let emotions get in the way, just stay focused on the W and keep the home winning streak alive.

GO HUSKIES!!

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