Northern Illinois vs Idaho Vandals Preview

Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Previewing the Idaho Vandals as the NIU Huskies head to Moscow, ID on Saturday.

The season so far

This season hasn't been kind to the Idaho Vandals, as they are 0-2 this season and were predicted to be one of the worst teams in the nation.

Sat, Aug 31 0-1
Sat, Sept 7 0-2

Against North Texas the Vandals weren't so bad on offense, putting up 369 yds however the Mean Green put up 591 yds of their own including 404 through the air. Not to mention Idaho fumbled and lost the ball three times. Looking at the box score Petrino went for it twice on 4th down and also missed a field goal.

Wyoming was the same type of game getting outgained 344-564 yds and giving up 302 yds and 4 TDs in the passing game. Two fumbles. All of their points were gained in garbage time. Wyoming and North Texas are not supposed to be good teams this year.

No more WAC or Akey

The breakup of the WAC has been brutal to the Idaho Vandals. They are an Independent this year and will join the Sun Belt along with New Mexico State next season. Robb Akey was fires last season after only notching 3 wins in his last two years after a Humanitarian Bowl in in 2009 over Bowling Green.

Coaching

Paul Petrino, the younger brother of Bobby Petrino, coached at Illinois from 2010-11 and under his brother at Arkansas in 2012 before Bobby's untimely demise from that program. He was also under his brother at Louisville from 2003-06 and 2008-09 at Arkansas. Former Arkansas WRs coach Kris Cinkovich was brought in to be the OC. DC Ronnie Lee was co-defensive coordinator on the 2010 Minnesota team that NIU beat 34-23.

Idaho Offense

Oh boy. I had to look at the roster to see if Nathan Enderle was starting vs. the Huskies. Then I remembered he graduated in 2010 and went 1-1 against the Huskies during his 4-year career.

Idaho has a new QB in rFR Chad Chalich, a new RB in whatever JUCO they decide to stick back there. Chalich is almost passing for 70% on the season completing 41 of 59 so who knows what's going on there. On offensive line, they only lost their RG from LY so that should be the strong point of the offense. The skill positions have a lot left to be desired though.

Impact players

C Mark Marboe - Yes, Idaho's best player is a center solidifying the fact that if your best player is a center, you have a horrible team. Marboe is on his 2nd year on the Rimington Award Watchlist. He's started every game the past two years and was HM All-WAC LY.

WR Najee Lovett - He's the 2nd leading receiver from last year where he caught 50 passes for 543 yds and 6 TDs. The leading receiver so far is JC transfer Dezmon Epps with 14 rec for 155 yds.

Idaho Defense

Oh boy. This isn't good. This defense was towards the bottom last year giving up 42.4 ppg and isn't going to be any better this year. The defensive line returns two starters. The linebackers return NOBODY. The secondary was bad last year and expects to be worse this year with their top 3 tacklers gone.

Impact players

DT Maxx Forde - Had 37 tkl and 4 sacks last year as starter. HM WAC LY

CB Solomon Dixon - Had 36 tkl, 3 int and 3 pbu LY.

Strategy

Rush the ball with the running backs as much as you can, but this is a game for Jordan Lynch to put up career numbers through the air against Idaho's hapless defense. This one isn't going to be pretty, even if the trip to Moscow is going to be difficult for the Huskies. There is just that much talent disparity at this point. This isn't 2007 or even 2009 anymore. Plus Enderle isn't QB. I just double and triple checked.

Also, the defense was able to go head to head against Iowa, so they should be able to take on Idaho's OL. And definitely be able to cause some turnovers and shut down their skill players with ease.

Huskies take this one 48-10.

Huskie fans, what are your predictions for Saturday?

2013 Idaho Previews

Bill Connelly

Paul Myerberg

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