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