College Football 77 in 77: #74 NIU Huskies

NORTHERN-ILLINOIS

From a mid-major standpoint, Northern Illinois University has become “Running Back U.” (Leshon Johnson, Garret Wolfe, Michael “the Burner” Turner, Chad Spann). Sure, only Michael Turner is the only one from that group to do anything in the NFL, but these rushers all dominated the collegiate level.

NIU will look to keep that running game going in spades this season, with mobile QB Chandler Harnish (although he’ll likely need to make more plays with his arm than he did in 2010, the Huskies were 85th in passing last year) with Jasmin Hopkins and Jamal Woble filling in for Spann.

It’s also a regime change campaign, as Jerry Kill parlayed his record setting 2010 (the Huskies won 11 for the first time ever in ’10) into a new gig leading the Minnesota Golden Gophers. It’s funny that I rate his old team higher than his new one, even though going from Dekalb to the Twin Cities, the MAC to the Big Ten, is a huge step up.

By Paul M. Banks

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Northern Illinois goes for School Win Record in MAC Championship

NORTHERN-ILLINOIS

Northern Illinois is essentially the mid-major embodiment of “Tailback University.” LeShon Johnson, Michael “the Burner” Turner, Garrett Wolfe are some of the recent names that come to mind. And Chad Spann, the current running back, has already broken the school record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 20. And he still has two games left to play.

Tonight the 10-2, (8-0 in the MAC) #24 NIU Huskies will battle the Miami of Ohio Red Hawks for the MAC Championship of college football. With both this and a bowl game remaining, it’s safe to say this will go down as the greatest Huskies team of all time. They are 17.5 point favorites and nationally ranked for the first time in 7 years. And they’ve done all this quietly.

Almost too quietly.

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