Ball State Cardinals (2-7 SU, 3-6-0 PS, 6-3-0 O/U) vs Northern Illinois Huskies (6-3 SU, 5-4-0 PS, 3-6-0 O/U)
When: 7:00 PM EDT, Thursday, November 9, 2017
Where: Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Illinois
Lines: Northern Illinois -31
College football action on Thursday evening and a pair of teams from the MAC Conference will square off as the Ball State Cardinals rumble with the Northern Illinois Huskies at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Illinois. The Cardinals are off a 56-14 loss at Eastern Michigan to fall to 0-5 in league play, while the Huskies are now 4-1 within the MAC after falling 27-17 to Toledo on the road. These teams met at Ball State last year and the Huskies won that game by a score of 31-24.
Cardinals Crushed For 5th Game In A Row
The Ball State Cardinals got off to a 2-2 start this year, which included a 51-31 win over UAB, a three-point loss at Illinois and a 12 point loss at Western Kentucky, but then league play started and it has been all downhill for them since. They come in off a 56-14 loss at Eastern Michigan to fall to 0-5 within the MAC and they have been outscored 256-46 in those. Just one of those losses has been by less than 41 points. They have been getting crushed in league play and have really struggled on both sides of the ball of late. The defense has really been horrible as they allowed 56 points and 488 yards in their loss to Eastern Michigan and have now allowed 515 ypg and 56.7 ppg over their last three games. Hard to win games when you’re playing defense like that. The offense has really struggled of late as well and a lot of that is due to injuries. Freshman Drew Plitt got the start against the Eagles as they are down to their 4th string QB. He hit just 11 of 21 passes for 169 yards with two TDs and an INT. He does give them some hope for the future, but still they are hurting right now at the skill positions and they are really hurting on defense. This is a very bad team right now.
The Cardinals have been poor on offense this year as they enter this game ranked 111th in the nation in total offense (339.7 ypg), 96th in passing (191.4 ypg), 83rd in rushing (148.2 ypg) and 121st in scoring at 18.6 ppg. On defense, they have been poor as well as they come in ranked 90th in total yards allowed (420.9 ypg), 81st against the pass (232.7 ypg) and 94th vs the run (188.2 ypg), while allowing 39.7 ppg, which is 126th in the nation.
Four-Game Win Streak Snapped In Toledo
The Northern Illinois Huskies are not the powerhouse that they have been in the league, but they are still a solid team and they entered their game at Toledo riding a four-game win streak. Well, that streak is over as they fell to the Rockets by a score of 27-17. Their offense has been decent this year and they did put up 430 yards on the Rockets, but they also threw two INTs, which killed a couple of drives. Marcus Childers hit 23 of 43 passes for 235 yards with no TDs and those two INTs. He has now thrown for 1112 yards with nine TDs and three INTs on the year. The run game was solid against the Rockets as they piled up 185 yards and leading the way was Marcus Jones, who had 80 yards. Tre Harbison and Childers each had rushing TDs in the game. This offense should look a whole lot better against a porous Ball State defense. The defense has been solid for the most part this year, but they did struggle against the Rockets as they allowed 527 yards of total offense, including 361 yards through the air. Still, facing that offense and this Ball State offense that is down to its 4th string QB are two different things. The Huskies have gone 3-1 at home, with their lone home loss coming by just three points to Boston College.
Northern Illinois has been average on offense this year as they come into this game ranked 64th in the nation in total offense (405.2 ypg), 75th in passing (219.3 ypg), 44th in rushing (185.9 ypg) and 76th in scoring at 26.7 ppg. On defense, they have been very solid so far as they come in ranked 26th in total yards allowed (332.1 ypg), 62nd against the pass (219.3 ypg) and 10th vs the run (112.8 ypg), while allowing 19.0 ppg, which is 24th in the nation.
Ball State is:
- 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games in November
- 3-13 ATS in their last 16 conference games
Northern Illinois is:
- 29-13 ATS in their last 42 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game
- 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games in November
The Northern Illinois Huskies have one win this year of 31 points and at that was on the road against Bowling Green. Can they win this one by at least 31? Well, the Cardinals have been crushed in their last five games, with four of those losses being by over 40 points. They have allowed 56.7 ppg over their last three games and the Huskies should be able to score plenty on them, while the NIU defense will be able to have a very good game against a Ball State offense that has averaged just 9.6 ppg over their last five games. I just can’t see the Cardinal being able to keep this one under 38 points.
Pick: Northern Illinois -31
The Northern Illinois Huskies are not a great offensive team this year, but they should be able to score plenty on a team that has allowed 56.7 ppg in their last three games. Now the question is, can the Cardinals score enough to put this game over the total? They have averaged just 9.6 ppg in their last five games and the Huskies have allowed just 266.3 ypg and 15.8 ppg at home for the year. I do not see a crippled Ball State offense putting up enough points for this game to go Over the total, so I will be going with the Under here, especially knowing that the Under is 13-3 in the Huskies’ last 16 games in November.