College Football Preview: The 2015 Northern Illinois Huskies
Northern Illinois Huskies Preview
2014 Record: 11-3
The Northern Illinois Huskies look to continue their dominance in the MAC in 2015 with a 4th conference title in five years.
Overview: The Northern Illinois Huskies have crosshairs on their backs after winning the MAC championship last season but they are accustomed to it with three titles in four years. This year’s team should once again be in the mix if they stay healthy because the pieces are still in place.
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Offense: The Northern Illinois Huskies and Jordan Lynch will be forever linked but Drew Hare did his best imitation of the former star in 2014. Hare threw for 2,322 yards with 18 TD’s and a mere two picks while using his legs to gain another 927 yards on 6.5 yards per carry. Leading rusher Cameron Stingily took nearly 1,000 yards to graduation with him which opens the door for Joel Bouagnon (97-558) to get the bulk of the workload while several newcomers look to crack the lineup. With Da’Ron Brown gone with a team high 974 receiving yards in 2014, Tommylee Lewis is the top threat despite missing 2014. In 2013 Lewis snagged 86 balls for 715 yards and caught 79% of the balls thrown his way. Aregeros Turner and Juwan Brescacin will have expanded roles after combining for almost 800 yards on 65 catches. ALL MAC center Andrew Ness and LG Aidan Conlon are the only returning lineman so this is the biggest concern.
Defense: NIU was run on in 2014 but the line remains mostly intact and their size is better which hopefully translates in to better results. DE Perez Ford led this unit with 45 stops with nine TFL including five sacks. Overall eight of the top ten are back but DE Jason Meehan and his seven sacks is a huge loss. The linebacking crew gets their top three back and five of six that played in 14 games. Rasheen Lemon and Sean Folliard were keys on the outside against the pass with a combined six sacks while forcing four fumbles. The secondary was decent against the pass and gets back eight of the top nine led by leading tackler SS Marlon Moore (74 T) and corner Paris Logan who posted three INT’s and broke up 15 passes.
Special Teams: The Huskies have a dependable PK in Christian Hagan who hit on 8-11 field goals and was 23-23 on PAT’s. Punting is a TBD spot with Tyler Wedel gone while Aregeros Turner and Chad Beebe will bring back kicks and punts respectively with Tommylee Lewis thrown in to the mix.
Outlook: It’s tough to go against the experienced MAC champion who didn’t even play well at times in 2014 but seemed to excel when necessary. The Huskies might not win the MAC but they will certainly be in the running.