Northern Illinois Huskies 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook
2015 Record 8-6
Northern Illinois Huskies 2016 Preview
The 2016 Northern Illinois Huskies shoot for an impressive 7th straight MAC West championship.
Overview: Northern Illinois finished 2015 at 8-6 which wasn’t their best performance but multiple injuries at quarterback hurt. However, head coach Rod Carey still won the MAC West and went to a Bowl so one would assume a healthy signal caller and a 7th division title in a row are not out of the question.
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Offense: Despite losing three quarterbacks to injury a year ago the Huskies still managed a respectable 31 points. Drew Hare saw the most action for the Huskies under center with nearly 2,000 passing yards and was the second leading rusher with 332 yards and will begin the season as the #1. NIU gets back their top receiver in Kenny Golladay (73-1129) with Aregeros Turner (39-343) giving the passing attack some options. Joel Bouagnon returns as the Huskies top runner with 1,286 yards on 283 touches but a 4.5 yard average was…just average and Jordan Huff who averaged 7.6 yards per tote might not even be with the team so there are questions in the backfield. Five return with experience on the O-Line but losing All MAC performers guard Aidan Conlon and center Andrew Ness has to hurt.
Defense: Northern Illinois was more of a bend but don’t break defense that typically minimized big plays. Former linebackers coach Kevin Kane returns as the Huskies DC and immediately must shore up the defensive line with ends Perez Ford and Cameron Clinton-Earl graduating and taking 13.5 TFL and eight sacks with them. MLB Boomer Hayes is also gone with his team high 93.5 stops but Kane (a former linebacker) has everyone that saw the field back otherwise with the top four combining for 20 TFL. The NIU secondary loses FS Marlon Moore but SS Brandon Mayes (3 INT’s) and corners Shawun Lurry and Albert Smalls (combined 10 INT’s-25 PBU) each got their hands on the ball. The bottom line for the Northern Illinois ‘D’ is more pass rush and run stopping and let the secondary take over on passing downs.
Special Teams: Jacob Ambrose had a 38 yard average on 74 punts and Christian Hagan was 14-18 on field goals (4-7 @ 40+) so the kicking duties are locked up. Aregeros Turner brought back two kicks for TD’s and Chad Beebe averaged 8.5 yards on 14 punt returns so the return game should be exciting.
Outlook: The numbers say Northern Illinois isn’t going to win the MAC West but the numbers have said that before. I didn’t think the Huskies were going to do it last year and they did so I am not going to count them so my feelings are they are the division champs until proven otherwise.
9/3 @ Wyoming
9/10 @ South Florida
9/17 San Diego State
9/24 Western Illinois
10/1 @ Ball State
10/8 @ Western Michigan
10/15 Central Michigan
11/1 Bowling Green
11/16 @ Eastern Michigan
11/25 @ Kent State