NIU vs. Bowling Green prediction and game preview. The Huskies look to keep the Falcons winless in MAC play when they meet Tuesday night.
NIU vs. Bowling Green Game Preview
When: Tuesday, Nov. 1 – 8 p.m. ET
Where: Huskie Stadium, DeKalb, Ill.
TV Broadcast: ESPNU
This is a rematch of last year’s MAC championship game, but one wouldn’t know it upon first glance.
Northern Illinois’ 2-6 record is a major disappointment considering it has made a bowl in eight consecutive seasons, including a trip to the Orange Bowl. On the bright side, the Huskies are coming off their most impressive performance of the year after beating Buffalo 44-7 on Oct. 22. Quarterback Anthony Maddie rushed for 125 yards and four touchdowns in the victory, and the former third-stringer has rushed for at least 100 three times in the last four games.
The Huskies are heavy favorites over Bowling Green, which sits at 1-7 and 0-4 in conference play while suffering through a disappointing season of its own. The Falcons have dropped six in a row after losing 40-26 to Miami (OH) last Saturday. Slowing Maddie and the Huskies likely will be a problem with Bowling Green having one of the worst defenses in the nation.
What To Know About NIU
Maddie, a converted wide receiver, has been solid since replacing Ryan Graham, who doesn’t possess the ability to run like Maddie. That dual-threat capability has been a boost for the Huskies as they’ve totaled at last 484 yards in four of their last five games. Maddie has a combined 14 touchdowns in that span while being asked to make a play on nearly every down from scrimmage.
NIU’s defense finally stepped up against Buffalo to help end a two-game slide. It forced four turnovers and allowed 338 total yards, marking the first time this season it has given up fewer than 400.
What To Know About Bowling Green
Defense has been the biggest issue for the Falcons. They rank 124th out of 128 FBS teams in yards allowed per game, giving up an average of 507.9. The 136 plays of at least 10 yards allowed are among the most in the nation, and their minus-16 turnover margin is dead last in the country.
The offense is having its own issues, too. Redshirt freshman James Morgan threw three interceptions against Miami and has 11 on the season, giving the Falcons 20 picks, by far the most in the country. The running game has been virtually non-existent because Bowling Green has been behind so often and trying to make up the deficit through the air.
Offense: NIU – Maddie is the difference.
Defense: NIU – It might not be the best out there, but it’s certainly better than Bowling Green’s unit.
Special Teams: NIU – Aregeros Turner leads the MAC in average yards per kickoff return.
Coaching: NIU – Rod Carey has had his struggles this season, but Mike Jinks is having a far worse go of it with the Falcons.
Intangibles: Even – This is the first regular-season meeting since 2011. The last three have been in the MAC championship game, with Bowling Green winning two of them.
Matchup To Watch
Maddie vs. Bowling Green’s poor D
Maddie’s eyes must light up when watching the Falcons’ defense on film. This one could get ugly quickly if Bowling Green doesn’t send a message with a couple of early stops.
Spread: NIU -16
Over/Under: No line as of post
NIU vs. Bowling Green Prediction
Maddie accounts for five touchdowns and the Northern Illinois defense forces four turnovers as the Huskies cruise in front of their home crowd.
NIU vs. Bowling Green final score prediction: Northern Illinois 52, Bowling Green 21