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Week Nine Preview - Eastern Michigan at Northern Illinois

Northern Illinois starts its journey to Detroit

NCAA Football: Northern Illinois at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Eastern Michigan Eagles (2-5) make their trek to DeKalb, Illinois where they will face off against the Northern Illinois Huskies (5-2). Eastern Michigan is coming off their 20-17 loss in overtime against the Western Michigan Broncos. The Huskies are coming off a shellacking over the Falcons by a score of 48-17.

Ian Eriksen smashing through the Huskies defense last year.
Kenneth Bailey

When Eastern Michigan has the ball.

Expect to see another aerial attack led by Brogan Roback. He currently has a 62% completion rate for 260 yards per game. He does a fairly good job of distributing the ball, but his favorite target is still Sergio Bailey II. The running attack will be led by Ian Eriksen who was able to double his season average of 49 yards per game against the Western Michigan Broncos. I think Eastern Michigan will try their running game but I hope that they continue with more off tackle runs.

They will be facing a defense that has only allowed 16.7 points per game. It is led in tackles by Bobby Jones. Sutton Smith should get a mention with 8.5 sacks so far this season. He will be facing an offensive line that has allowed a little more than 1 sack per game though. Eastern Michigan will be facing an aggressive defense that has amassed 23 sacks total this season (almost three per game).

Kenneth E. Bailey

When Northern Illinois has the ball.

The Huskies’ passing game is being led by Marcus Childers. He is also fairly good at distributing the ball but the leading receiver is Chad Beebe. The Huskies’ rushing attack is led by Jordan Huff.

The Huskies will be facing a defense that has been almost as tough as their defense. The Eagles have allowed only 19.86 points per game this season. Their rush defense has slipped a little bit from last year with 183 yards per game but some of that might be due to the million yards they gave up against Army. The pass defense has been better with only 168 yards per game. But again, this might be skewed by the Army game where they didn’t give up any passing yards.

What Can We Expect?

This looks like it is going to be a battle of the two defenses. Where each defense’s strength is against the other team’s weak point (EMU versus the pass and NIU versus the rush). So it comes down to which team can better exploit the other team’s weakness. If you ask me, I think Brogan Roback will be better able to exploit the Huskies’ pass defense but I don’t think that will translate to an Eagles’ victory.

This game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

Heck, it could even come down to a field goal.
Kenneth Bailey