Northern Illinois vs. Purdue
Northern Illinois looks to continue its unbeaten season as the Huskies take on Purdue this Saturday in the last non-conference tune-up for the Boilermakers before a week off and a date with Nebraska to start conference play. Both teams have been up and down to start the season, but Northern Illinois has taken advantage of a favorable early schedule while Purdue has had two meetings with ranked teams the last two weeks.
Will the real Northern Illinois please step forward? After a week one win at Iowa, the Huskies looked shaky at best in a road win over a very poor Idaho team followed by a come from behind win against FCS Eastern Illinois. Northern Illinois fell behind 21-0 to instate rival Eastern Illinois before rallying to a 43-39 win. Quarterback Jordan Lynch has been solid once again this year, completing 63% of his passes and connecting on 7 passing TDs. The dual thread quarterback has also rushed for 404 yards and 2 touchdowns. While the Huskies have been lights out on offense in their first three games, the defense has had trouble stopping anyone. Northern Illinois is giving up over 33 points per game, ranking 101st in the nation in points against.
The good news for the Northern Illinois defense is that the Purdue offense has been one of the most inept units in the country. The Boilermakers are the only FBS team yet to rack up more than 300 yards in a game this season. Purdue currently ranks 102nd in passing, 116th in rushing and 117th in scoring. Add in the fact that the Purdue defense is giving up 32 points per game and it looks to be a long season in West Lafayette for first year coach Darrel Hazell.
What will happen: It’s hard to imagine Purdue has a lot left in the tank after a draining loss to Notre Dame and a blowout loss at the hands of Wisconsin. The Boilermakers are in dire need of a bye which they’ll get next week, but in the meantime they have to figure out how to stop Northern Illinois. Jordan Lynch will continue his excellent season and the struggling NIU defense will get a break against an extremely weak Purdue offense.
Key stats: Northern Illinois is 7-1 against the spread in its last 8 games against the Big Ten.
Prediction: Northern Illinois 34 Purdue 24
The Play: Northern Illinois -3
2013 ATS Record: 8-4