In a conference opener for both squads, the Central Michigan Chippewas (1-3. 0-0 MAC) will host the Northern Illinois Huskies (2-2, 0-0 MAC) for their Homecoming game. In last season's game, Thomas Rawls ran virtually unopposed as the Chippewas killed The Streak, 38-17.
This season, the Huskies look to get a bit of vengeance after a game against Boston College that came down to the final minutes. In that effort, NIU looked haggard, as Drew Hare passed for 81 yards and an interception, while the running game wasn't much better, gaining 72 yards as a collective. The Huskies defense put up another solid performance, giving up only 326 yards and 17 points, but just couldn't keep the offense in the game in the end.
On the opposite end, the Chippewas showed good effort against a second-ranked Michigan State team that was caught off-guard by an efficient passing attack, led by Cooper Rush's 285 yards and one touchdown, with at least four receivers gaining over 50 yards on the day. The defense wasn't too shabby either, giving up only 324 yards.
When and Where:
Date/Time: Saturday Oct. 3rd, at 3:00 p.m.
Location: Kelly/Shorts Stadium (30.000) in Mt. Pleasant, MI
How To Watch/Listen:
TV/Streaming: There will be no TV options. The game will be exclusively streamed through ESPN3 and on the WatchESPN App, which is available to all those with valid cable subscriptions.
Radio options: Central Michigan fans will be able to listen through 95.3 WCFX, Mt. Pleasant or the Central Michigan Gameday App for Apple and Android, while Northern Illinois fans can listen on 1360 WLBK DeKalb or on the TuneIn App.
Odds: The game is a toss-up as of 12 a.m. Saturday, according to OddsSharks. NIU opened up a one point-favorite in the beginning of the week, but things seem to have tightened up, to the point where CMU is favored by half a point. The over/under is 51.
Players to watch:
Anthony Rice (WR-CMU): Rice had a spectacular day against the Michigan State defense, reeling in a touchdown and 78 receiing yards for the Chippewas. Over three of the last four games, Rice has caught at least four passes for 56 yards, with 208 yards on the season thus far. With the way that Rush distributes the ball, don't be surprised if Rice's speed results in some yards after the catch.
Joe Ostman (DE-CMU): Ostman is listed as questionable with an injury, but could see playing time against a Northern Illinois defense that has looked wounded on offense all season. Ostman has not played since the game vs. Monmouth, but provides the run defense with an instant jolt of energy after getting blasted for three rushing touchdowns against MSU.
Joel Bouagnon (HB-NIU): Bouagnon looked dazed and confused against the best run defense in the land last week, and his numbers have scaled down significantly since his 158 yards, three touchdown performance vs. UNLV. In three games since that opener, Bouagnon has averaged 62 rushing yards per game.
Shawun Lurry (DB-NIU): Lurry made a name for himself vs. Ohio State, intercepting Cardale Jones twice to keep the Huskies within a possession of pulling off the ultimate upset against the Buckeyes. Lurry has been a steady player in the secondary, accumulating 12 total tackles and three interceptions from the corner spot. The 5'8", 178 lb. sophomore was named a Jim Thorpe Player of the Week, MAC West Player of the Week, and FBS Player of the Week for his efforts.
Expected forecast is 57 degrees at kickoff, with cloudy skies and a brisk 15-25 MPH wind out of the northwest.