No. 23 NIU Huskies vs Akron Zips Preview: Homecoming at last

Gregory Shamus

Homecoming Preview for the Northern Illinois Huskies as they take on the Akron Zips.

The Northern Illinois Huskies are 5-0 and 4 out of their first four games were on the road. Now the Huskies are home to play the lowly Akron Zips in front of a sell-out crowd. This should be entertaining to say the least.

Akron's season so far

Thu, Aug 29 0-1 (0-0)
Sat, Sept 7 1-1 (0-0)
Sat, Sept 14 1-2 (0-0)
Sat, Sept 21 1-3 (0-0)
Sat, Sept 28 1-4 (0-1)
Sat, Oct 5 1-5 (0-2)

Congrats on that come behind victory vs James Madison. Now while some teams can hang their hat on beating one of the top FCS teams in #4 ranked Eastern Illinois, James Madison is just not one o those teams.

Those Michigan and LA Lafaytte games were weird blips on the radar, weren't they?

Call it a letdown spot for Michigan not to mention Devin Gardner went full Devin and threw 3 INTs. Eh, and the next week the Ragin' Cajun's kicker kicked an onside to himself, so there's that. Since going in-conference the Zips have gotten back to their lowly ranked ways losing to the two best teams in the MAC East. There could be a Cinderella deep down in there somewhere, but who knows.

What happened last year?

A 37-7 non-descript victory where Lynch put up crazy numbers again.

Series Record

8-5 NIU with 2 of those losses taking place in 2005. We don't talk about what happened in 2005, OK?

Coaching

Oh yeah, Terry Bowden is head coach of the Akron Zips just in case you didn't know and is in his 2nd year at the program. Yeah, the Bowden that had a 47-17-1 record at Auburn from 1993-98. Then he was on TV for a while before going to North Alabama. His career record as a head coach is 140-62-2. Akron is somewhere where he can toil for a bit, build up the program and eventually head to a bigger school if that ever happens. The DC is Chuck Amato of North Carolina State and FSU fame these past few years.

Offense

Akron is ranked 112th in total offense this season and 10th in the MAC. Their rushing offense is 114th, but their passing O is 75th. Not too bad. At QB is sophomore Kyle Pohl who is 8th in the MAC in passing yds (195.5 pg) and efficiency. He's completed 58% of his passes for 8 TDs and 7 INTs this season. Inconsistent.

Zach D'Orazio is the man on the outside, with 19 rec or 266 yds and 4 TDs so far this season. Their top RB Jawon Chrisholm only averages 48 ypg and has 1 TD on the season.

Defense

The defense isn't much better than the offense, ranking 92nd in the nation in total yds. Their rushing D is ranked 71st, so that is the focal point. But looking at passing D it gets ugly. The Zips are 100th in passing yds allowed and 116th in pass efficiency D. Woof.

Look out for DE C.J. James and DT Nico Caponi, who have 4 and 3 sacks respectively.

Zippy the Roo

Sees you when you sleep.

Strategy for NIU

Be aggressive offensively early on and throw it deep to Da'Ron Brown and Tommylee Lewis. Get up a few scores then just run the ball with Cameron Stingily the rest of the game. It's that simple. Akron might have a chance in there somewhere but it has yet to be seen after that Michigan game. Against our defense you never know, but the homecoming environment could be one of the best this school's ever seen.

The Huskies are going for their 23rd straight win at Huskie Stadium. That would break the MAC record for consecutive home victories set by Marshall from 1997-2000.

I'm going to go with the Huskies big in this one: 47-14.

HUSKIE FANS, WHAT ARE YOUR PREDICTIONS FOR THIS ONE?

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