College Football Picks: Northern Illinois vs. Purdue

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 2:29 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 25, 2013 2:29 PM UTC

The Northern Illinois Huskies and Purdue Boilermakers meet in a non-conference battle on Saturday in West Lafayette, Indiana at Noon ET.

CFB Preview

According to current college football betting odds the visiting Huskies of Northern Illinois are a 3.0-point favorite and the total is 57.5. This is the 2nd all time meeting between these two schools on the gridiron. Northern Illinois won at Purdue 27-20 as an 11.5-point underdog on 9/19/2009.

The Dominant Mid-Major

Northern Illinois has put themselves on the college football map with their accomplishments in recent years. Last season the Huskies attained an unprecedented feat as they became the first team from the MAC to play in a BCS Bowl game. They eventually lost to Florida St. 31-10 in the Orange Bowl but it culminated a very successful 12-2 season. This is a team that’s 15-1 in their last 16 and 24-2 in the last 26 games overall. Besides the Florida St. game the only other loss in that span was in their 2012 season opener 18-17 versus Iowa. They were able to revenge that loss in their 2013 season opener winning on the road 30-27 over the Hawkeyes.

The Huskies enter this contest 3-0 on the season and are coming off a huge scare a week ago. They were given everything they can handle and then some versus Eastern Illinois before pulling out a come from behind 43-39 win, while failing to cover as a 14.5-point favorite. The defending MAC champions fell behind 20-0 in the first 7:24 of the game before mounting a furious comeback to capture the win. The defense continues to be a major concern as the FCS school Panthers racked up 577 yards of total offense including 450 of those in the air.

What is happening with the game over in South Florida?

Patience at Purdue

The Purdue faithful yearns to return to the winning tradition that was established by former head coach Joe Tiller. Under his successor Danny Hope the Boilermakers went a disappointing 22-28 the last 4 seasons. Hope was let go and replaced this season by Darrell Hazzell the former head coach at Kent St. All Hazzell did last season was lead Kent St. to a terrific 11-1 regular season. His team lost in the MAC championship game to Northern Illinois 44-37 in overtime. That narrow defeat cost the Golden Flashes an improbable BCS Bowl berth. Hazzell took over a program at Kent St. that hadn’t had a winning season since 2001and in just 2 years reversed its bad fortunes.

Purdue enters this contest with a record of 1-3 with its only win versus a FCS school Indiana St. 20-14. Last week they were pummeled at Wisconsin 41-10 and failed to cover as a 21.5-point underdog. Similar to Northern Illinois the Boilermakers have struggled defensively especially versus their 3 FBS opponents in 2013.


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Final Analysis

Despite their 3-0 start Northern Illinois ranks 115th out of 125 FBS schools in total defense allowing a whopping 491.0 yards per game, versus the like of Iowa, Idaho, and Eastern Illinois. The good news is the Huskies offense continues to be explosive ranking 17th nationally in total offense while also averaging 39.3 points per game. The Huskies senior Jordan Lynch is one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the country. Lynch has passed for 662 yards and ran for another 404 yards in 3 games this season. This is nothing new since he threw for 3138 yards and ran for another 1815 a season ago.

The Purdue offense has hardly been dynamic in their first 4 games. However, versus a porous defense like Northern Illinois I look for quarterback Rob Henry to have a huge day, and the offense as a whole to have their most productive game of the season. The 'Total' is the way to go for our college football picks, because the Boilermakers defense will have a difficult time keeping the Northern Illinois offense in check.

Free Pick: Purdue/Northern Illinois over 57.5.


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