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Northern Illinois vs. Iowa St. Preview & Pick

Northern Illinois Huskies vs Iowa State Cyclones Gambling Preview + Predictions

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Speaking of early college football odds here is a preview and pick for the first day of the college football season where Iowa State of the Big 12 host Northern Illinois of the Mid American Conference.

Date/Time: Thursday, September 2, 8:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa
Huskies vs. Cyclones Lines
MoneyLine: Cyclones -150 / Huskies +130
Spread: Cyclones -3
Over/Under: 47.5
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Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Iowa State Preview

Iowa State opens their season at home against Northern Illinois, who is no pushover and has a legit chance to win the Mid American Conference this season. The Cyclones cannot look past the Huskies even though they play in-state rival Iowa next week, who is ranked in the pre-season top 10, in a nationally televised game.

Every game is important for the Cyclones before they begin Big 12 play and this game is no exception. The Cyclones play a killer schedule, as they not only face 9th ranked Iowa next week, but they also play 3 teams in the Big 12 in the span of 4 weeks that are ranked in the pre-season top 25 in Oklahoma, Texas, and Nebraska.

With Iowa State’s win in the Insight Bowl last season they finished 2009 at 7-6 and in a interesting fact Northern Illinois has only beat a FBS team that finished with a winning record once in the past 4 years (1-20).

Last season Northern Illinois finished the season 7-6 and got smoked in the International Bowl losing to South Florida 27-3. The Huskies can get off to a good start by beating Iowa State in their house and it may be one of their toughest games of the year. NIU does not play one team this season that is in the pre-season top 25.

NIU has their work cut out for them in this game, especially on the defensive end of the football. Iowa State returns QB Austen Arnaud (2,015 yards 14 TD 13 INT last season) and RB Alexander Robinson (1,195 yards 6 TD last season). Luckily the Huskies, who had the best D in the MAC last season, return 9 starters on defense, but there are a bit undersized up front and if they cannot stop Robinson they will be in big trouble.

Last season the Cyclones averaged 180 rushing yards per game.

The strength of the Iowa State offensive line is their pass protection and since NIU is undersized Arnaud may have a lot of time to find his main targets of Jake Williams, Darius Darks, and Sedrick Johnson.

For the Huskies to move the ball they will have to run it and that is their strength. They led the MAC last season averaging 195 rushing yards per game and they return RB Chad Spann, who rushed for 1,038 yards and 19 TD’s while catching 10 passes for 122 yards and a TD.

NIU QB Chandler Harnish is a legit passing QB and he will have to complete some passes so the Cyclones’ D does not solely focus on stopping the run. One big knock against Harnish is that he has a hurt knee and if he is out the Huskies will turn to DeMarcus Grady, who is more of a duel-threat QB.

While the Iowa State secondary is solid one of their main weakness is the pass rush. They are not the biggest line up front, but they use their speed and they will are decent at stopping the run, which they will have to do against NIU. Run blocking is the strength of the Huskies’ offensive line and they will have to open up holes for the running games against the quick Cyclones front line D.

The key for the Cyclones on defense will be stopping the run. They have several new starters and they will have to play well in this game against a NIU team that will pound the ball with the run.

The Cyclones obviously have the home field advantage and last season they did not lose one game at home to a team that did not finish at least .500 or better. Last season the Huskies were only 2-4 on the road.

Even with a killer schedule and some question marks on the defensive side of the ball there are high expectations for Iowa State this season. The Huskies have a legit squad, but they are playing a Big 12 team on the road and their road woes against solid teams will continue, as they will lose this game.

Pick: Iowa State -3

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Comments

Comments

  1. niu huskies

  2. Its the NIU HUSKIES!!! not the Salukis

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