Western Michigan Broncos at #14 Northern Illinois Huskies
Huskie Stadium – DeKalb, Illinois
Tuesday, November 26, 2013, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Northern Illinois -33 1/2
Current Line: Northern Illinois -35
Opening Total: 63 1/2
Current Total: 63 1/2
Opening Money Line: NIU -23000 / WMU +8500
Current Money Line: NIU -25000 / WMU +9000
The 11-0 Northern Illinois Huskies have already clinched the MAC West Division title and a spot in the MAC Championship game next week against the winner of Friday’s Buffalo-Bowling Green game. It will be the fourth straight trip to the Championship game for the Huskies. The Huskies look to complete an undefeated regular season as they host the 1-10 Western Michigan Broncos Tuesday night.
Western Michigan leads the series against Northern Illinois 23-15, but the Huskies are 11-8 in DeKalb. Northern Illinois has won 4 straight games in the series, including 48-34 in Kalamazoo last year. The Huskies have won 24 straight MAC games and 25 straight home games.
The Huskies also have a bigger goal in mind as they look to return to a BCS game for the second straight year. Northern Illinois is #14 in the current BCS standings. The Huskies are locked in a tight battle with 10-0 #16 Fresno State for an at large spot in likely the Fiesta Bowl. If either the Huskies or Bulldogs finish at least #12 in the final BCS standings or ahead of AAC champ Central Florida (currently #19) then NIU or Fresno would qualify for a BCS Bowl. Northern Illinois played in the Orange Bowl last season where they lost to Florida State.
Western Michigan is coached by P.J. Fleck. The only win for the Broncos came at Massachusetts 31-30, and the Minutemen also have only one win on the season. Western Michigan has road losses at Michigan State 26-13, Northwestern 38-17, Iowa 59-3, Toledo 47-20, and Eastern Michigan 35-32 in overtime. The Broncos have home losses to Nicholls State 27-23, Kent State 32-14, Buffalo 33-0, Ball State 38-17, and two weeks ago against Central Michigan 27-22. WMU is 3-8 ATS and the total is 4-7 this season. The Broncos were 3 point underdogs against Central Michigan and the total was 50.5.
Central Michigan took a 14-0 lead against Western Michigan but the Broncos would kick two field goals in the second quarter to make it 14-6 Chippewas. Western would score 10 points to open the third quarter and take a 16-14 lead. Central closed the third with two touchdowns, including a 34 yard pick six to take a 27-16 lead into the fourth. The Broncos scored a touchdown with 11:12 left but missed the two point conversion to make it 27-22. WMU would have two more possessions after that but they ended with a missed 32 yard field goal and a turnover on downs at the CMU 26. The Chippewas had 285 total yards with 16 first downs including 167 passing yards. The Broncos had 311 total yards with 17 first downs, including 164 rushing yards. CMU had 5 turnovers, and WMU had just the 1 returned for a pick six. The Broncos had 5 penalties for 50 yards.
Western Michigan is being outscored 36-18 this season. The Broncos are #117 in scoring and #108 in points allowed out of 125 FBS teams. Western Michigan is averaging 333.6 total yards per game including 215.4 passing and 118.3 rushing yards. The Broncos are #80 in passing, #110 in rushing and #112 in total offense nationally. On defense, WMU is allowing 414.8 total yards per game, including 181 passing yards and 233.8 rushing yards. The Broncos are #11 in pass defense, #116 in rush defense, and #79 in total defense. WMU is -7 in turnovers with 25 giveaways. The Broncos average 63 penalty yards per game and opponents average 55. Western Michigan is 62/194 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 83/172. The Broncos have forced 7 sacks and allowed 20 this season. WMU is 27/33 scoring in the red zone with 14 touchdowns, and opponents are 40/48 with 30 touchdowns. The Broncos have allowed 9 defensive/special teams touchdowns this season and have a fumble return for a touchdown themselves.
WMU quarterback Zach Terrell has completed 53.3% of his passes for 1,463 yards with 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Back-up Tyler Van Tubbergen started a few games earlier in the season when Terrell was injured. Van Tubbergen has completed 44.9% of his passes for 906 yards with 4 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, along with 44 rushing yards. Van Tubbergen is questionable with a shoulder injury, but hasn’t played in the last five games.
Running back Dareyon Chance has 138 carries for 658 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 107 yards. Brian Fields has 143 carries for 552 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 122 yards. Receiver Corey Davis has 64 catches, 913 yards and 6 touchdowns. Kendrick Roberts has 17 catches, 265 yards and a touchdown. Josh Schaffer has 19 catches, 219 yards and 2 touchdowns. Timmy Keith, Eric Boyden, and Clark mussman will also get some catches. Boyden and Mussman each have a touchdown catch. Two little used receivers Justin Collins and Daniel Braverman are both out for the season.
Northern Illinois is coached by Rod Carey in his first season. The Huskies have road wins at Iowa 30-27, Idaho 45-35, Purdue 55-24, Kent State 38-24, Central Michigan 38-17, Massachusetts 63-19 and last week at Toledo 35-17. NIU has home wins over Eastern Illinois 43-39, Akron 27-20, Eastern Michigan 59-20 and Ball State 48-27. The Huskies are 8-3 ATS and the total is 7-4 this season. Northern Illinois was a one point favorite at Toledo and the total was 73.5.
NIU trailed 10-7 at the half against Toledo. The Huskies would pull to within 21-17 by the end of the third. Northern Illinois closed the game with 14 points in the fourth to avoid the upset 35-17. The Huskies had 566 total yards including 364 rushing yards. The Rockets had 419 total yards including 184 rushing yards. Toledo had 4 turnovers and NIU did not have a turnover.
Northern Illinois is outscoring teams 44-25 this season. NIU is #7 nationally in scoring. The Huskies are averaging 549.4 yards per game (#5 nationally), including 309.3 rushing yards (#7 nationally) and 240.2 passing yards. On defense, NIU is allowing 414.8 yards per game including 273 passing yards and 152.5 rushing yards. The Huskies are #90 in total offense, and#116 in pass defense out of 125 teams. Northern Illinois is +13 in turnovers with 26 takeaways. The Huskies are averaging 51 penalty yards per game. and opponents are averaging 49. NIU is 76/163 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 81/209. The Huskies have forced 28 sacks and allowed 8. NIU is 55/63 scoring in the red zone with 43 touchdowns, and their opponents are 27/31 with 20 touchdowns. The Huskies have 2 pick sixes and a kickoff return for a touchdown, and have allowed a kick return and a fumble return for touchdowns.
NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch has completed 66.3% of his passes for 2,418 yards with 21 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Lynch is also the leading rusher with 221 carries, 1,434 yards and 17 touchdown. Running back Cameron Stingily has 156 carries, 958 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 4 catches. James Spencer has 3 rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown. Keith Harris, Jr is out for the season with an ankle injury. He had 143 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, along with a receiving touchdown. Running back Akeem Daniels is also out indefinitely with a foot injury.
Receiver Tommylee Lewis has 74 catches, 623 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 24 carries for 321 yards and a touchdown. He also has a kick return for a touchdown and even threw a touchdown pass. Da’Ron Brown has 41 catches, 689 yards and 9 touchdowns. Juwan Brescacin has 23 catches for 388 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Luke Eakes has only 9 catches, but two of them have gone for touchdowns. Nine other receivers and running backs have caught touchdown passes. Two defensive players are listed as questionable or out Wednesday.
Western Michigan is 18-8-1 ATS after passing for 170 yards or less, 4-9 in road games, 8-20 on fieldturf, 1-4-1 in Tuesday games, 1-5 after failing to cover, and against teams with winning home records, 1-6 after a straight up loss, and against teams with winning records, 1-7 overall, 1-8 in MAC games, 0-4 in November, and 0-6 after allowing 170 passing yards. The under is 4-1 in this series in games played in DeKalb recently.
Northern Illinois is 5-0 ATS after a straight up win, 4-0 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 4-0-1 in November, 4-1-1 after allowing less than 20 points, 15-4-2 after gaining more than 450 total yards, 24-8-2 in MAC games, 18-6-2 against teams with losing records, 8-3-1 at home, 20-8-2 after a cover, 5-2 against teams with losing road records, 33-15-3 overall, and 34-16-3 on fieldturf. The home team is 5-2-1 ATS in this series recently, and the favorite is 3-0-1 ATS. The Huskies are 13-2-1 in the last 16 against the Broncos, including 8-0 at home.
Even if Northern Illinois suffered a letdown against Western Michigan, I think the Broncos are so bad it wouldn’t matter. The Huskies might score 70 points in this game. Lynch and the other Huskie starters should be resting comfortably on the bench by the fourth quarter if not sooner.