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Northern Illinois vs. Ball State: Game Preview With TV Schedule

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Northern Illinois

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Coming into the season, the Northern Illinois Huskies were expected to dominate the MAC once again and contend for yet another BCS bowl. After beginning the year 9-0 with two wins over Big Ten teams, the Huskies are looking like the team to beat once again in the conference. If they win out, a BCS bowl will be on the schedule once again.

The same expectations were not set for the Ball State Cardinals who come into this game with a 9-1 record looking to keep first place in the MAC West division. Sitting at 6-0 in the division, the Cardinals have a half-game lead over Northern Illinois in an improbable race for a conference title.

Northern Illinois is led by quarterback and Heisman-hopeful star, Jordan Lynch. A year ago, he lifted the Huskies to a BCS bowl appearance and did a fantastic job making a name for himself. This season, he has passed for 1,871 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season while also leading the team in rushing and the country as the top rushing quarterback with 1,150 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. The Huskies rank fourth in the nation in rushing and that’s due, in large part, to the duo of Lynch and Cameron Stingily. The running back adds another 784 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.

Ball State is somewhat of a surprise after a 9-4 finish a season ago. The Cardinals have already won as many games as they had a season ago with at least three more remaining on the schedule. Senior quarterback Keith Wenning is one of the most underrated players in the nation. The gunslinger has passed for 3,164 yards and 27 touchdowns this season while only throwing five interceptions and completing 63 percent of his passes. He has gotten some solid help from top wide out Willie Snead who has caught 74 passes for 1,175 yards and 12 touchdowns while Jordan Williams is close behind with 57 catches for 800 yards and eight scores.

Defensively, the Huskies have a pretty average unit. They rank 53rd in the nation in points given up per game as well as 63rd in yards allowed per game with just under 400. Ball State ranks 48th in points allowed per contest as well as 84th in yards allowed per game with 427.

Ball State will travel to Northern Illinois to take on the Huskies at 8 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Nov. 13. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN 2.

PREDICTION: Ball State 31, Northern Illinois 35

Related: Northern Illinois’ Win Over UMASS Proves Their Success Is More Than Just Jordan Lynch

Ball State Cardinals’ Aerial Assault Drops Central Michigan Chippewas

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at

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Northern Illinois Huskies Need Offensive Bounceback in Poinsettia Bowl

The Northern Illinois Huskies were one win away from making their second straight trip the BCS in 2013 before running into a brick wall in the form of the Bowling Green Falcons in the MAC Championship game. Bowling Green’s top-ten defense contained the high-powered offensive attack of NIU and upset the Huskies to keep them from busting the BCS yet again. Northern Illinois will have to find a way to bounce back offensively in a hurry, however, as they face another tough defensive challenge in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl against the Utah State Aggies.

The MAC title game was the first time all season long that NIU failed to score at least 30 points in a game. Combined with a rough day on defense, the Huskies faced a lopsided upset loss at the hands of the Falcons thanks to their physical defense which were able to keep Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch somewhat contained and even forced a pair of interceptions out of the offensive leader of the Huskies’ attack.

They will need to figure out what went wrong in a hurry, though, as Utah State brings a similarly stingy defense to the Poinsettia Bowl. The Aggies rank No. 12 nationally in total defense this season and No. 10 against the run. They have a physical defensive front that helped turn around Utah State’s season after a rough 3-3 start to 2013 that ended up in the Moutain West Conference Championship game in their very first year in the conference.

NIU will be challenged by the Aggies when they square off. If they stumble in the same way they did against Bowling Green, Lynch will leave the Huskies with a disappointing and unsatisfying finale to his collegiate career. Can the Huskies fix what failed them in the MAC title game and come out ahead against Utah State?

You can follow me on Twitter @Teeblerone, on Facebook and on Google

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