Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#103 Eastern Michigan 54 vs.
#104 Northern Illinois -4.5
Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 7:30pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala

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#103 Eastern Michigan University
#104 Northern Illinois University
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It’s a battle of teams from the West Division of the Mid-American Conference as week 13 of the college football slate brings us some early week MACtion. The Eastern Michigan Eagles are on the road as they travel to face the Northern Illinois Huskies Tuesday night. Eastern Michigan comes in off a 42-14 road win over Akron last Tuesday night in their previous game. Northern Illinois edged Toledo 31-28 on the road Wednesday in their previous game. The Huskies lead the all-time series between the teams 25-5-2 and have won the last 11 meetings. That includes a 26-23 road win in the most recent matchup on September 29, 2018.

Eastern Michigan Eagles Look to Earn Second Straight Win

Eastern Michigan had lost two straight and four of five heading into last week’s game. The Eagles had little problem dusting Akron to return to .500 overall: they are 2-4 in conference play, leaving them in the basement of the MAC West. Eastern Michigan led 21-0 at the half and was up 35-0 before allowing Akron on the board in the final minute of the third quarter. By that point, the Eagles were on cruise control. Eastern Michigan owned a 498-342 advantage in total offense, picked up 25 first downs while allowing 14 and won the time of possession 33:45 to 26:15 in the game. For good measure, the Eagles forced the game’s lone turnover.

The Eagles are 35th in the nation in passing offense as they average 274.9 yards per game: the run game is 120th in the nation by rushing for 114.7 yards per contest. Eastern Michigan is 75th in the FBS in scoring offense by putting up 27.8 points per game while ranking 96th in scoring defense as they allow 31.3 points per contest. Mike Glass III has completed 189 of 290 passes for 2,237 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season: he is second on the team with 277 rushing yards and six scores. Preston Hutchinson is 43 of 56 for 462 yards with three touchdowns and one interception on the year. Willie Parker is third on the team with 38 carries for 142 yards plus two scores while Shaq Vann (104 carries, team-high 493 yards, six TD) is in the mix as well. Dylan Drummond leads the team with 43 catches for 395 yards plus three scores. Matthew Sexton (33 grabs, 501 yards, four TD), Quian Williams (40 receptions, 481 yards, four TD) and Arthur Jackson III (30 catches, 472 yards, four TD) are also solid options. Chad Ryland has hit 24 of 26 extra points and 10 of 14 field goal tries with a long of 52 this season.

Northern Illinois Huskies Try to Climb Above .500 in Conference Play

Northern Illinois nearly led one slip away against Toledo on the road before regrouping in the final minute to earn the victory. The Huskies improved to 4-6 overall on the season and are even at 3-3 in conference action after the road triumph. Northern Illinois led 28-7 after three quarters only to see Toledo tie the game with three unanswered fourth-quarter touchdowns. John Richardson’s 25-yard field goal with 41 seconds to play to cap a 13 play, 68-yard drive proved to be the margin of victory. The Huskies prevailed despite losing the total yardage battle 508-444 and the first down clash by a 24-23 count. Northern Illinois did control the clock by a 32:44 to 27:16 margin and forced two turnovers while not committing any in the game.

The Huskies are 57th in the nation in passing offense as they average 242.9 yards per game through the air this season. When it comes to running the ball, the team is 109th with 128.8 yards per contest. Northern Illinois is 100th in the FBS in scoring offense with an average of 24 points per game while they stand 69th in scoring defense by allowing 27.9 points per contest. Ross Bowers has completed 166 of 287 passes for 2,140 yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions on the year. Marcus Childers is 30 of 45 passing for 289 yards and four scores while ranking third in rushing with 220 yards and four scores. Tre Harbison is the team’s leading rusher with 200 carries for 899 yards with eight touchdowns. Jordan Nettles (54 carries, 229 yards) is the next back in the system. Cole Tucker leads the team with 37 receptions for 520 yards and a score this season. Daniel Crawford (33 grabs, 410 yards, TD), Mitchell Brinkman (29 catches, 404 yards, two TD) and Tyrice Ritchie (28 receptions, 336 yards, three TD) are solid secondary options.

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Both teams have had their struggles this season at times. Eastern Michigan had dropped four of five before blasting Akron. We saw Northern Illinois blow a three-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter before winning in the final minute. Eastern Michigan can move the ball through the air and they face a Northern Illinois team that gives up 208.3 yards per game and 15 scores through the air this season. If the Eagles’ run defense steps up like it did last week, they can be tough. Northern Illinois doesn’t intimidate anyone with their offense and that’s a problem. Look for Eastern Michigan to go on the road and pull a bit of an upset here.

Prediction: Eastern Michigan Eagles +4.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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We haven't seen a ton of offensive production from Northern Illinois this season. The Huskies have gotten better production in limited action from Childers than they have from Bowers this season. Northern Illinois is still a below-average offensive team that has work to do in order to become competent. Eastern Michigan showed grit last week as they actually committed to the ground against Akron. The Eagles look to build off that momentum here: can they earn a road victory?

The under is 8-2 in the Eagles' last 10 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game and 6-2 in their last 8 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game. Northern Illinois has seen the under go 7-2 in their last nine at home. Given the way both teams have had their issues at times putting points on the board, this one likely stays under the number.

Prediction: Under 53.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.