By the Numbers:
The game between the No. 14 ranked Northern Illinois Huskies (11-0, 7-0 MAC) and Western Michigan Broncos (1-10, 1-6 MAC) will be fought between two teams on opposite sides of the standings. The Broncos sit in last place in the MAC West, while the Huskies have already clinched a spot in the Championship game. As with all games, points are the key number...and for WMU, it doesn't look good. They score very little (less than 18 points per game)...so little that only seven FBS teams score less than they do! But besides not scoring, the Broncos also can't stop other teams from getting points. WMU gives up 35.6 points per game - 109 in the FBS (out of 125). On the other side of the football, the Huskies score an awful lot...just about 44 points per game, which happens to be seventh best in the country. So it's no surprise to hear that they move the ball really really well. NIU averages 550 yards per game on offense, 5th best in the NCAA, and most of those yards come via the run (310 rushing yards per game). That's more bad news for the Broncos, as they give up a ton of rushing yards every game (234, which is 115 in the FBS).
The Huskies are on the verge of a perfect season, and can not afford to overlook the Broncos here. NIU has never been 12-0, they have not been ranked this high in the BCS since 2003 (when they peaked at 10th), and have a serious Heisman candidate in QB Jordan Lynch. WMU fans can hope that the Huskies, having already secured a spot in the MAC Championship game on December 6th, look past this game and slip up. But the good news for Huskie fans is that, since the MAC East wont be decided until Friday, they should show up for this game since they don't know who their opponent will be yet.
Four Names to Know:
For the Broncos, wideout Corey Davis has been a huge part of their offense. Whether it's Tyler VanTubbergen or Zach Terrell throwing him the ball, Davis has made great plays all year. He has half of their receiving TDs (with 6), over a third of their receiving yards (with 913) and almost 6 receptions per game. This season he has five games with 100+ receiving yards, and four of those games he had over 110 yards.
Safety, Justin Currie is the heart of the Bronco defense. He has 103 tackles this season so far. Seven have been for a loss, and one was a sack. He also has three pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and three interceptions. He is going to need to have a great game if WMU is going to slow down the Huskies' offense.
Now, normally there is an offensive and defensive player from each team, but with the Huskies great rushing attack facing the 10th worst rushing defense, we have no choice but to have only offensive players for the Huskies. Huskie QB, Jordan Lynch has proven game after game that he deserves a trip to New York for the Heisman ceremony. Against two of the best teams in the MAC (Ball State and Toledo) Lynch went a combined 43-54 (79.6%) for 506 passing yards, 284 rushing yards, and 7 total TDs (5 rushing and 2 passing). He is the nation's best dual threat quarterback, and with WMU run defense being as bad as it is...he should pile up the yards.
Cameron Stingily is the main runningback for the Huskies (when Lynch isn't holding on to the ball). Last week against Toledo he had 18 carries for 146 yards. Stingily is now just 42 yards away from a 1000-yard season. If/When he gets there, NIU would join Wisconsin and make them the only two teams to have two players over 1000 rushing yards each (NIU: Lynch and Stingily, with 1434 and 958 yards. Wisconsin: Gordon and White, with 1375 and 1281). Don't be surprised if he reaches 1000 yards by the end of the first half.
How To Watch:
TV: ESPN2 or ESPN3 (online only), 7 P.M. ET (6 Central)
Can't Watch? Listen:
NIU Fans: 670 AM (Chicago), 1360 AM (DeKalb), or 98.9 FM (DeKalb)
WMU Fans: 96.5 FM (Kalamazoo), 94.1 FM (Lansing), 101.3 FM (Grand Rapids), or 1130 AM (Detroit)