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2021 Mid-American Conference Football Week 6 Game Notes: NIU Huskies at Toledo Rockets

Everything you need to know about this morning’s game between the Huskies and Rockets

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 02 Northern Illinois at Toledo Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Two of the top programs in the Mid-American Conference over the last decade will meet Saturday in the Glass Bowl, as Toledo welcomes Northern Illinois to town at noon today (11 a.m. for all those Huskie fans in Central time.)

In last year’s game, the Rockets snapped a two-game losing skid to the Huskies, beating NIU 41-24 at Huskie Stadium. After being tied at 24-all at halftime, the Rockets shut out the Huskies in the second half and scored 17 points in the final frame to walk out of DeKalb with the victory.

Both teams feature identical 3-2 records. NIU has wins over Georgia Tech of the ACC, FCS Maine and now Eastern Michigan, while losing by one score to Wyoming and getting trounced at Michigan. Toledo has wins over Norfolk State of the FCS, Ball State and UMass, while losing on the road to a ranked Notre Dame and to Colorado State. Both teams have two-game win streaks coming into today’s contest.

Here’s a brief rundown of everything you need to know going into Saturday:

Game Info

  • When: Saturday, October 9th at noon (11:00 a.m. CST)
  • Where: The Glass Bowl — Toledo, OH
  • Watch: CBS Sports Network (A valid cable subscription is required)
  • Listen: NIU fans can listen at WLBK 1360 AM, while Toledo fans can tune in to the Rockets website by following this link.
  • Weather: Mid 70s and mostly cloudy
  • Odds: Toledo is favored by 12.5 points and has an 82.9% chance of winning according to ESPN’s FPI

Quick Stats: Huskies vs Rockets

Category Huskies Rockets
Category Huskies Rockets
Points: 28.6 30.2
Points Allowed 33.6 16.6
Total Yards 377 397.7
Passing 156.2 227.8
Rushing 220.8 169.8
Yards Allowed 419.2 297.2
Passing 219.6 170.6
Rushing 199.6 126.6

Huskie Players to Watch:

  • RB Antario Brown: Last week, filling in for the injured Harrison Waylee, Brown broke out and ran for more than 100 yards in the second half alone. He’ll need to have another big game to help the Huskies upset the Rockets.
  • DB Dillon Thomas, DB: Thomas has been everywhere the past two weeks. Against Maine he tallied eight tackles and then last week against EMU he had seven more stops, two TFLs, two sacks. He now leads the team in sacks, with three total, and his four TFLs are tied for first.
  • QB Rocky Lombardi: 65-114, 781 yards, 5 TD’s and 5 interceptions
  • HB Harrison Waylee: 101 carries, 574 yards, 4 TD’s (questionable for today)
  • WR Tyrice Richie: 22 receptions, 223 yards
  • LB Lance Deveaux: 36 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 sack

Rocket Players to Watch:

  • WR Devin Maddox: The Huskie secondary is prone to giving up big yardage through the air, which is perfect for Maddox. If EMU’s Beydoun can torch NIU for 167 yards, Maddox should be chomping at the bit here. He might be able to hit 200 yards against this young secondary.
  • LB Terrence Taylor: Taylor has been in the backfield more than any other Rocket, netting team-highs in TFLs (6) and sacks (3). Toledo will look for him to get into the backfield and limit this Huskie run game and get pressure on Lombardi, who has only been sacked twice this season.
  • QB Carter Bradley: (A nice) 69-of-112, 912 yards, 4 TD’s and 1 interception
  • HB Bryant Koback: 76 carries, 364 yards and 4 TD’s
  • DE Desjuan Johnson: 21 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks

Toledo has controlled this series from the start. Over the first 37 games the Rockets complied a 29-8 record against the Huskies, never even losing consecutive games.

However, in 2010, the tides started to turn as NIU has gained a big advantage. Over the past eleven contests, the Huskies are 8-3 and even won six straight games from 2010-2015.

This match up has now been pivotal in deciding the MAC West over the past decade which has contributed to the teams building a bit more animosity towards each other (although any Huskie fan will tell you there has been bad blood there for quite a long time).

The 2021 Huskies look like they have come a long-ways from last year’s 0-6 record, and could be a sleeper in the MAC led by veteran transfer Rocky Lombardi under center. Huskie back Harrison Waylee leads the MAC in rushing despite missing much of last week’s game against EMU. UT could get a huge break if Waylee is unable to play following last week’s injury.

Toledo’s defense has stepped up and enters play as the MAC’s top defense, while ranking in the top 20 of the NCAA. Quarterback Carter Bradley has done enough in his first real shot at starting while reserve QB Dequan Finn has been one of the MAC’s unsung playmakers in the spell QB role, with a big moment to define his young career against Notre Dame, scoring a touchdown with just over a minute remaining to give Toledo the lead in South Bent. Bryant Koback leads one of the top offensive skill units in the MAC and enters play with four touchdowns, despite it feeling like UT has held him back during the early season.

It’s a game which will have a lot of bad blood, and has traditionally been one of the more competitive rivalries in the MAC, so make sure to tune in!

This article is a quick look at everything you need to know for the upcoming game but, if you have some extra time, you can read the full preview here.