The Northern Illinois Huskies have started off the 2013 season with a 3-0 record. In their first game of the season, they travelled to Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City to take on their first of two Big Ten teams, the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Huskies shocked the Hawkeyes and stole the victory with a game-ending field goal. The Huskies will be looking to make their presence felt against a Big Ten opponent once again as they travel to West Lafayette, Indiana to take on the Purdue Boilermakers.
The Huskies and head coach Rod Carney are facing a Purdue team that is still recuperating from a pounding at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers in Camp Randall. Both Carney and Boilermakers head coach Darrell Hazell are first-year coaches this season, and this is a big game for both programs. For the Huskies, it is a chance for a MAC team to knock off another Big Ten team and keep their team in the national spotlight.
For the Boilermakers, it is paramount that they rebound and get a victory after their first conference loss, as they will be heading in to a bye week following this game, before their first home conference game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Not to mention, this is homecoming for the Boilermakers.
For the Boilermakers to keep a homecoming crowd happy, the most important thing they need to do is to shore up their defense. Last week, the Badgers were able to run at will against the Boilermakers defense. This week, the defense will be asked to keep Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch. Lynch is a very capable runner, and if he finds space to exploit the Boilermaker defense, it will make for a long day in West Lafayette.
Cameron Stingily will also be vital to the Huskies rushing attack, and will be needed to help Lynch move the ball against the Boilermakers. The Huskies will be looking to do much of their damage on the ground as the Boilermakers’ secondary is much better than their rushing defense.
For the Boilermakers, it is paramount that they get some early stops against the Huskies defense. If the Purdue defense can get stops on third-and-short, they will gain confidence and momentum in this contest. They need to make a statement in this game that they will not be pushed around up front all season.
The Boilermakers’ offense should try to establish a balance attack in this contest. One weakness for the Huskies is their defense. Look for the Boilermakers to both rush the ball and take their shots down the field in this game. They most definitely want to control the clock and be the team dictating the pace of this game. The Boilermakers do not want to be forced to play from behind against Lynch and the consistent rushing attack of the Huskies.
This should be a close contest, but look for the play of Lynch to be the difference-maker in this game.