The top two teams in the MAC, West Division, the Rockets and the 25th ranked Huskies meet at Huskie Stadium on Wednesday. The Huskies look to separate themselves from the pack as this game carries a two game swing in the division.
Northern Illinois hasn't faced top level
competition, but is currently riding a nine-game winning streak; they are coming
off of a 63-0 destruction of the Massachusetts Minutemen. Toledo suffered
a setback with a 25-20 loss at the hands of the Ball State. Toledo has faced top 25 competition this season, coming up with a 29-23 victory
over the Cincinnati Bearcats on October 20th.
The Rockets have a major opportunity to tie up the division
with a win on the road.
5 Dimes Sportsbook lists Northern Illinois as a 10.5 point
favorite for this 9:00 pm ET matchup. The game can also be seen on ESPN 2.
The Rockets have put themselves in a must-win
position after their disappointing loss to Ball State; at the time, they were
nationally ranked. Now, not only do they need a win on Wednesday but an impressive win at that.
Are the odds makers underestimating them by making them a double digit
Clear the launching pad!
The Northern Illinois defense will be in for a rude
awakening as they have to deal with Toledo star running back David Fluellen.
There will be no element of surprise in this game as the junior will see the
ball in excess of 30 plus carries. Fluellen is coming off of 2 consecutive 200
yard games and 6 consecutive 100 yard games. Although Northern Illinois ranks
15th in the nation in points allowed at 17.9 per game, this is no
barometer for Fluellen's effectiveness against their defense as they've played
a cupcake schedule. Expect a big game in a big spot from the Lockport, N.Y., junior.
Starting quarterback Terrance Owens isn't exactly a world
beater, but does an adequate job of running the offense and knowing when to
take off with the football. Owens has two primary offensive weaponsin receivers Bernard Reedy (901 yards, 6 TD's)and Alonzo Russell (766
yards, 3 TD's)
In the loss to Ball
State, Reedy played well, catching 7 passes for 98 yards and 1 TD.
This is a well rounded offense that can match up with any
team in the MAC. It will be interesting to see how they react after the
loss last week.
The Northern Illinois Huskies need to look no further than
the quarterback position for production as Jordan Lynch is putting up numbers
that are unparalleled.
On the season, Lynch has thrown for 2,175 yards with 19 TD
and 3 INT. He is also the Huskies leading rusher with 1,342 yards and 16 TD's.
Why this guy doesn't get more national attention is a mystery. Lynch has run
for over 100 yards in 9 out of 10 games this season and has thrown for 12 TD's
and 0 INT's in his last 6 games.
This game will be a huge measuring stick to see if Lynch is as good
as his numbers indicate because, as I stated earlier, the Huskies schedule has
been flat-out weak.
Key notes: Martel Moore left the Massachusetts game with a
shoulder injury, but it's said to not be serious. Moore leads the Huskies in
receiving this season with 746 yards and 8 TD's.
The Huskies have won 20 consecutive games at Huskie Stadium.
There's no denying the excellence that the Huskies have
displayed this season. Even though Toledo is coming off a loss, it was to a
good team, and Northern Illinois hasn't dealt with teams at this level. Take
the Toledo Rockets with the points.
Pick: Toledo Rockets +10.5