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Northern Illinois Huskies 2017 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart

Northern Illinois Huskies 2017 Preview

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The Northern Illinois Huskies look for a bounce back year in 2017 which depends on the team staying healthy under center.

Overview: The Huskies suffered injuries to four quarterbacks a season ago yet finished 2016 with wins in three of four so head coach Rod Carey has something to build on if he can replace numerous starters on the defensive line and put together a competent receiving corps. 

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Northern Illinois Huskies 2017 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart

USA TODAY Sports

Offense: The first order of business for the Northern Illinois Huskies is settling on a quarterback and hope he remains healthy for a full season. Ryan Graham, Daniel Santacaterina or Anthony Thompson will open up the year under center for the Huskies but all better be prepared to play give the team’s recent issues at quarterback. Whoever gets the starting job will have a great runner to hand the ball to in Jordan Huff who will be given the chance to be the feature back in the Huskies run oriented attack. NIU does return three starters along the offensive line including All MAC tackle  Max Scharping which should keep the rushing game going. The Huskies passing game is a concern with the top six receiving options departing which leaves Iowa State transfer Jauan Wesley, DJ Brown, Christian Blake and Shane Wimann as the top guys but none are proven.

Defense: The Northern Illinois defense was vastly improved during their season ending hot streak in 2016 but there has been some turnover along the front seven so the question is can this unit be close to that effectiveness. NIU loses seven of the top eleven players in the front seven and need to shore up this area to help out the offensive side of the football. William Lee is the most productive defensive tackle the Huskies have back which puts the pressure on ends Joe Sanders and Josh Corcoran. Alex Schwab and Bobby Jones IV give Northern Illinois experience at linebacker yet the front seven still has some holes, especially at tackle. NIU should be strong against the pass with corners Shawun Lurry and Mayomi Olootu returning along with the safety tandem of Mycial Allen and Brandon Mayes.

Special Teams: Northern Illinois gets back placekicker Christian Hagan but are in need of just everything else which might not be as bad as it sounds with the special teams having problems overall and ranking close to the bottom in college football.

Outlook: The Huskies need to stay healthy at quarterback and get somebody to catch the ball and find contributors on the O-Line and defensive line in order to be considered a contender in the MAC. Sounds like a lot but adversity from 2016 could work in favor of Northern Illinois and it’s not wise to overlook this team.

Schedule:

9-1 vs. Boston College

9-9 vs. Eastern Illinois

9-16 @ Nebraska

9-30 @ San Diego State

10-7 vs. Kent State

10-14 @ Buffalo

10-21 @ Bowling Green

10-26 vs. Eastern Michigan

11-2 @ Toledo

11-9 vs. Ball State

11-15 vs. Western Michigan

11-24 @ Central Michigan

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