College Football Week 14: #19 Northern Illinois Vs. #18 Kent State
- CoachingNorthern Illinois already has it's third straight 11-win season; it's second under Dave Doeren. A win here not only earns the Huskies back-to-back MAC titles, but possibly a spot in a BCS bowl.Darrell Hazell has taken a team that last finished better than .500 in 2001 and turned it into an 11-game winner in just his second year. A win here and, with a little help, his team could very well get an automatic BCS bowl bid. Regardless, Kent State is going bowling for the first time since 1972.
- OffenseNIU is pushing Jordan Lynch as an outside-the-box Heisman candidate. He can beat you with his arm (23 touchdowns and just four picks) and his legs (16 rushing scores).The Golden Flashes have two 1,000-yard rushers, including the electrifying Dri Archer, and they take care of the ball.
- DefenseThe Huskies are 15th in yards per play and gave up just 64 yards to Kent State last season.The defense is below-average as far as yardage, but makes up for it with takeaways: their 35 are second best in the country.
- Special TeamsNIU took a kickoff 93 yards for a score last week. Other than their punting, they have been very good on special teams.Kent State ranks sixth in special teams according to Football Outsiders.
Kent State is 17th in the BCS standings; NIU is 21st. It’s unclear if NIU, which has the slight edge here, will jump enough teams to get to 16 and earn an automatic BCS bid. Kent State would have a much easier path. -Andrew Kahn, College Football Contributor