Ohio Bobcats vs. Northern Illinois
The Northern Illinois Huskies and the Ohio University Bobcats meet on Friday in the MAC Championship game at Ford Field in Detroit. The Huskies are -3 point favorites over the Bobcats with an over/under point total set at 66.
After getting blown out by Wisconsin and losing to Central Michigan it looked like it was going to be a long season for Dave Doren’s Northern Illinois Huskies but after reeling off seven straight wins to close out the year they find themselves playing for the MAC Championship. NIU QB Chandler Harnish has done it all this season offensively completing 63 percent of his passes for 23 touchdowns and four interceptions while rushing for 1,351 yards and 11 touchdowns. When it isn’t Harnish carrying the ball it’s Jasmin Hopkins who has 872 yards and 15 touchdowns. Nathan Palmer has 42 catches and five touchdowns, Martel Moore has 36 catches and five touchdowns, and Perez Ashford has 36 catches and two touchdowns. The Northern Illinois defense has seven interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries, and 23 sacks and they have a plus five turnover differential. Pat Schiller has 103 tackles, Jimmie Ward has 87 tackles, and Sean Progar has 5.5 sacks. As explosive as the Northern Illinois offense has been their defense has certainly been vulnerable this season.
The Ohio Bobcats took a tough loss last year in the New Orleans Bowl as they were beaten badly by Troy but Frank Solich’s team looks to be on a mission to be a bowl winner this season. Like his counterpart in this one OU QB Tyler Tettleton has been a playmaker completing 63.7 percent of his passes for 2,649 yards and 23 touchdowns with six interceptions while rushing for 465 yards and eight more touchdowns. Donte Harden is averaging 5.9 yards per carry with two touchdowns and Beau Blankenship has 365 yards and four touchdowns. LaVon Brazil has 54 catches and 10 touchdowns and Riley Dunlop has 34 catches and five touchdowns to lead the Ohio receivers. Defensively the Bobcats have 14 interceptions, eight fumble recoveries, and 15 sacks and have a minus one turnover difference. Noah Keller has 90 tackles, Gerald Moore has 69 tackles, and Travis Carrie has four interceptions to lead the Ohio defense. It’s clear Ohio is a well-coached solid team and they will need to be on top of their game to win this one.
Northern Illinois is 11-5-1 against the spread in their last 17 MAC games, 5-13 against the spread against a team with a winning record, and 1-7 against the spread in their last eight neutral site games. Ohio is 6-2 against the spread against a team with a winning record, 1-4 against the spread in their last five neutral site games, and 1-4 against the spread following a game which they didn’t cover. The underdog has covered in four of the last five meetings of these two.
The total in this one is set at 66 and while both of these teams can put points on the board both teams are also going to try and keep one another off the field so I see this one going under.