Eastern Michigan vs. Northern Illinois prediction and game preview. The Eagles battle the Huskies in Wednesday night MAC action.
Eastern Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Game Preview
When: Wednesday, Nov. 16 – 7 p.m. ET
Where: Rynearson Stadium, Ypsilanti, Mich.
TV Broadcast: ESPNU
Eastern Michigan’s football program hasn’t accomplished much, but that’s not true of this season. It became bowl-eligible for the first time since 1995 with a come-from-behind, 48-41 win over Ball State last Wednesday, an accomplishment for coach Chris Creighton after the Eagles went just 1-11 last season. The turnaround has been impressive, and the Eagles could appear in their first bowl game since 1987 to end the country’s second-longest bowl drought.
Northern Illinois has the same 3-3 record in MAC play as EMU, but those victories account for all they’ve earned this season following an 0-4 start. The Huskies had won two in a row before falling, 31-24, to Toledo last week in a neutral-site contest at the Chicago White Sox’s ball park. The defeat put them out of bowl contention, snapping a MAC-record streak of eight consecutive appearances.
What To Know About Eastern Michigan
Creighton stayed the course after winning three games in his first two years combined and has the Eagles on the cusp of their third winning season since appearing in their last bowl game. Only New Mexico State has a longer drought in the nation.
Brogan Roback had a career highs in completions (37), pass attempts (71) and passing yards (468) while throwing three touchdown passes Tuesday, when Eastern Michigan rallied from a 21-0 first-quarter deficit. Ian Eriksen’s second touchdown run of the night was the deciding score with 32 seconds remaining, and the defense came through with an interception at its own 8-yard line on the final play of the game.
What To Know About Northern Illinois
Anthony Maddie, who has thrown eight touchdown passes while running for seven more scores, was a last-minute scratch against Toledo with an injury. Later, a hairline fracture in his leg was discovered, and Maddie has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. That effectively ends his career with NIU after having to miss all of last season because of back surgery.
Ryan Graham stepped in against the Rockets and threw three touchdown passes while adding 97 yards rushing. The starting job is his for this contest and next week’s season finale against Kent State.
Offense: Eastern Michigan – It doesn’t appear NIU will take a step back with Maddie injured, but EMU has Roback going well to give it the edge.
Defense: Even – The Eagles rank eighth in the MAC in total defense, with the Huskies ranking ninth.
Special Teams: Northern Illinois – Aregeros Turner leads the conference in average yards per kick return.
Coaching: Eastern Michigan – Creighton turning around the program has been impressive.
Intangibles: Northern Illinois – The Huskies have won the last eight meetings.
Matchup To Watch
Graham vs. EMU’s defense
Graham is the quarterback of the future of NIU, and he’ll get his chance to get a couple more starts under his belt. The Eagles are out to have one of the program’s most successful campaigns, and they’re not going to make it easy for Graham to get going.
Spread: Northern Illinois -3
Over/Under: No Line as of post
Eastern Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Prediction
The Huskies being a road favorite is a bit surprising. The Eagles won’t like that very much and get two touchdown runs from Eriksen while intercepting Graham twice.
Eastern Michigan vs. Northern Illinois final score prediction: Eastern Michigan 28, Northern Illinois 20