College football preview: UMaine (1-2) at Northern Illinois (1-2)


WHERE: Huskie Stadium, Dekalb, Illinois

KICKOFF: 2:30 p.m. Saturday

WEB: ESPN3

ALL-TIME SERIES: First assembly

LAST WEEK: Maine defeated Merrimack, 31-26; Northern Illinois misplaced to Michigan, 63-10

KEY STAT: 3-22, Maine’s report towards FBS opponents

OUTLOOK: This sport is finally going to come back right down to Maine’s means to cease the run. The Huskies are averaging 190.3 speeding yards per sport, third within the Mid-American Convention, and averaging 4.9 yards per rush. They’re led by freshman Harrison Waylee, who has rushed for 357 yards and three touchdowns and is averaging 5.5 yards per run. He’s not alone. QB Rocky Lombardi is averaging 5.6 yards per rush and RB Clint Ratkovich is averaging 5.9, together with three touchdowns. Maine’s entrance seven goes to be examined. The Black Bears are permitting solely 118.0 speeding yards per sport, and three.7 yards per rush. Linebackers Ray Miller (24 tackles) and Adrian Otero (18) might want to play effectively, as will security Fofie Bazzie (team-high 31 tackles). Maine’s protection can even look to construct on final week’s efficiency, when the Black Bears took the ball away 4 occasions. The Huskies do flip the ball over, having misplaced it 5 occasions in three video games.

The working sport can be pivotal for the Black Bears on offense as effectively. QB Derek Robertson can be making solely his second profession begin. And whereas Coach Nick Charlton stated the Black Bears will open up the offense a bit extra this week, and permit him to get the ball downfield to his playmakers, it’s crucial that RBs Elijah Barnwell and Freddie Brock proceed to construct on final week’s effort, when Maine gained 125 yards speeding, 78 by Barnwell. Particular groups can even be an element. Maine blocked two PAT kicks final week, returning every for 2 factors.

OF NOTE: Northern Illinois is a Soccer Bowl Subdivision group that performs within the Mid-American Convention. Maine is receiving $350,000 in assured cash to play the Huskies. That is the primary of two video games the Black Bears will play towards FBS colleges this yr, the opposite being the College of Massachusetts on Nov. 13. Maine will obtain $300,000 for that sport. … The Black Bears are 3-5 all-time towards MAC groups, the final victory coming in 1998, a 30-13 win over Buffalo. … Northern Illinois is 16-3 towards FCS opponents, however has by no means performed a group from the CAA.


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