Wyoming vs. Northern Illinois - 9/3/16 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction
NIU Huskies (8-6) at Wyoming Cowboys (2-10)
College Football: Saturday, September 3, 2016 at 10:30 pm (War Memorial Stadium)
The Line: Wyoming Cowboys +10 -- Over/Under: 55.5 See the Latest Odds
TV: CBS Sports Network
The Northern Illinois Huskies will travel to War Memorial Stadium (WY) to take on the Wyoming Cowboys on September 3rd in College Football action.
The Northern Illinois Huskies finished the 2015 season with a respectable 8-6 record although they did suffer a couple tough losses at the end of the season in both the MAC Championship (34-14 loss to Bowling Green) and the Poinsettia Bowl (55-7 loss to Boise State). Northern Illinois was solid on the offensive end last season as they averaged 31.1 ppg and did that while going through three quarterbacks including losing starting QB Drew Hare (218.0 yds/game, 14 TD, 4 INT) due to injury. Leading the way for the Huskies offensive this season will be RB Joel Bouagnon who averaged 91.86 rushing yds/game and had 18 TD’s in 2015. QB Drew Hare should be back under center and he will have top receiving threat Kenny Golladay (5.2 rec/game, 80.6 yds/game, 10 TD) back at WR. Defensively, Northern Illinois struggled towards the end of the season and finished the season allowing their opponents to average 27.6 ppg (ranked 73rd) on 418.3 total yds/game (ranked 87th). The Huskies should have one of the best secondary’s this season in the MAC and are led by All-American Cornerback, Shawun Lurry, who had 43 tackles and 9 INT. Northern Illinois will have to rely on a very inexperienced Defensive Line and Linebackers group that might have trouble against the run.
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The Wyoming Cowboys had a disappointing 2015 campaign finishing the season with a 2-10 overall record (2-6 MW) however, there is some reason for optimism for Craig Bohl and the Cowboys this upcoming season. Wyoming has an incredible 17 starters returning from last year’s squad however, coach Bohl will need to see significant improvement on both sides of the ball as Wyoming averaged just 19.0 ppg (ranked T-115) while allowing their opponents to average 34.0 ppg (ranked 102). Leading the way for the Cowboys offensively will be RB Brian Hill who averaged 135.92 rushing yds/game last season to go along with 6 TD’s. Behind center will be QB Josh Allen who saw limited action last season however, the good news for the Cowboys is that they will be returning their top three receivers from last season in WR Tanner Gentry (5.3 rec/game, 96.9 yds/game, 4 TD), WR Jake Maulhardt (4.8 rec/game, 54.4 yds/game, 8 TD), TE Jacob Hollister (2.2 rec/game, 29.6 yds/game, 3 TD). With 8 returning starters on the defense, Wyoming is hoping better results in 2016. Leading the way for the Cowboys defense will be free safety Andrew Wingard, who as a freshman last season led the team with 122 tackles earning him second-team All-MW honors. Also returning for Wyoming is the solid linebacker duo of Lucas Wacha (96 tackles) and D.J. May (69 tackles, 1.0 sack).
The Huskies are 19-5-2 ATS in their last 26 road games and 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games in September. The Cowboys are 16-36-1 ATS in their last 53 home games and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in September.
Northern Illinois should be once again one of the best teams in the MAC and although they have some concerns on the defensive end, they should have a solid game plan when it comes to slowing down the Cowboy’s Brian Hill. Wyoming should improve this season however, I’m a bit concerned that the defense will be able to slow down both QB Drew hare and RB Joel Bouagnon and although Wyoming is always a tough place to play, I think Northern Illinois will do enough in this one to cover this road spread. Take Northern Illinois to cover.