2018 Football Preview – Conference USA – Huskies
Looking for 2018 Northern Illinois Huskies predictions? The Huskies come in with a stacked defensive line in Rod Carey’s 6th year. Can they make it back to the top of the MAC West??
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2018-19 College Football Preview – Northern Illinois Huskies
Head Coach: John Bonamego
2017 Record: 8-5
Northern Illinois Huskies Odds to win the 2018 FBS Championship: +100000
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The defense will keep them in every game, but can the offense keep pace?
2018 Northern Illinois Huskies Predictions: Team Strengths
One of the top D-line’s in the country: The major media consensus is that the NIU front 4 can dominate not only in the MAC but go toe to toe with rosters on top 25 teams.
It starts with All-American defensive end Sutton Smith. The converted running back was a monster getting into the backfield last season, as he racked up 14 sacks, 8 QB hurries and 63 tackles.
If he is healthy he is guaranteed another double-digit sack season and could flirt with 16 or 17 if he gets dominant in one on one matchups.
The rest of the line is dominant too, as defensive tackle Ben Leroy comes in with 37 tackles and 3 sacks last season.
As a unit, the defensive line led the nation with 114 tackles for a loss and should contend for that spot again this year.
Having a dominant defense against the run (they gave up only 120 yards per game on 3 yards per carry last year) should keep them in every game this season.
The running game: The Huskies have an excellent dual-threat option in Marcus Childers, who is the leading rusher returning from last year’s squad.
He scores 5 touchdowns on the ground and should take a lot of pressure off of Marcus Jones, who averaged over 4 yards per carry this season.
These two make a lethal one-two patch that opposing defenses will have a hard time stopping.
Expect a heavy dose of carries from this team as they had 35 or more carries in each game last year, and averaged 178 yards rushing per game.
2018 Northern Illinois Huskies Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Lack of playmakers at wideout?: With such a run-heavy offense you wouldn’t expect the Huskies to have a lot of top-flight wide receiver recruits coming to knock on their door.
The leading returning receiver Spencer Tears only had 528 yards receiving, and he was the go-to guy on last year’s squad.
If the offense gets into situations where they have to go for it a lot on third and long they could be in trouble as the season gets into conference play.
If one of the receivers can step up and make big plays then it should be a return trip back to the MAC championship game.
Northern Illinois Huskies Prediction: 8-4
Northern Illinois has a very tough out of conference schedule this season.
Starting with a road game against Iowa, they face Utah at home, and then get Florida State in week 4. Yes Florida State is going through a coaching change, but Willie Taggart’s offenses always put up points, and that could be a guaranteed loss for NIU.
They will pick up steam as conference play continues with solid wins over Eastern Michigan, Ball State, and Ohio.
The only real tough game in the conference will be against Toledo, but I have them picking up the win in that one.
2018 Northern Illinois Huskies Football Schedule
- 9/1/18 3:30 PM ET @IOWA
- 9/8/18 7:30 PM ET UTAH
- 9/15/18 3:30 PM ET CMU
- 9/22/18 TBD @FSU
- 9/29/18 6:00 PM ET @EMU
- 10/6/18 TBD @BALL
- 10/13/18 3:30 PM ET OHIO
- 10/27/18 TBD @BYU
- 11/1/18 7:00 PM ET @AKR
- 11/7/18 TBD TOL
- 11/14/18 TBD M-OH
- 11/20/18 7:00 PM ET @WMU
What do you think about our 2018 Northern Illinois Huskies predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2018!
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