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Eastern Michigan is eager to climb out of last place in the MAC West division standings. The Eagles are 5-5 on the season and are coming off a 42-14 victory over Akron. On Tuesday night, they'll have an opportunity to do just that as they travel to face Northern Illinois. A win would also mean bowl eligibility for the Eagles.
The Huskies enter this contest in 3rd place in the MAC West division. Northern Illinois is coming off an impressive 31-28 victory over Toledo. At 4-6, the Huskies must win its final two games to become bowl-eligible.
Tuesday night's game takes place at Huskies Stadium and kicks off 7:30 p.m. EST. The game airs on ESPN 2.
Hop on board the Vann expressThe Eagles used a dominant performance in their run game to earn their fifth victory. Crucial to their success was the play of running back Shaq Vann, who gained 142 yards and had four touchdowns for Eastern Michigan.
He's one of the players to watch on Tuesday night, as they face a Northern Illinois defense that gave up 208 yards on the ground to Toledo. If Vann can have similar success, he'll provide the balance Eastern Michigan needs.
Quarterback Mike Glass III is the other player to watch. Glass's dual-threat ability should challenge a Huskies' defense that surrenders 208 passing yards per game and has had problems stopping the run as of late. Eastern Michigan's depth at receiver will also pose a challenge as they have four players who caught at least 30 receptions on the season. And with the running game clicking, the Huskies' secondary could be challenged deep by Matthew Sexton and company.
Defensively, the Eagles face a Northern Illinois offense that relies primarily on its passing attack. Quarterback Ross Bowers has had an up and down season, throwing for 2,140 yards and seven touchdowns against eight interceptions. Given Bowers inconsistency, if the Eagles can apply pressure they might be able to force turnovers. They'll need this help too as they've struggled to contain opponents passing attacks by surrendering 243 yards through the air per game.
The Huskies hoping to get one step closer to a bowl berthNorthern Illinois is in a must-win situation. The Huskies hope their narrow win over Toledo provides them the springboard to do so.
Against Eastern Michigan, they'll need to employ a balanced offensive attack. When they run the ball well, they're able to free up passing lanes, making it easier for Bowers to make the right reads. One player to watch is running back Tre Harbison. Harbison ran for 158 yards and a score in the Huskies' win over Toledo. He'll need another big performance against an Eastern Michigan defense that allows 193 rushing yards per game.
This is the matchup to watch. Bowers will make plays through the air, but the game comes down to the Huskies' ability or inability to run the ball consistently well. Given they're facing an Eastern Michigan defense that's struggled to contain the run, this might be the deciding factor in the game.
Defensively, the Huskies must do a better job of making tackles in space and filling gaps. The Rockets ran for over 200 yards against Northern Illinois and it's a safe bet Eastern Michigan will follow the same plan of attack.
Trends found on Covers.com Northern Illinois is:
- 4-0 in games after allowing more than 200 rushing yards
Eastern Michigan is:
- 0-5 ATS following a win
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Look for the Huskies to use their rushing attack to exploit the vulnerabilities in Eastern Michigan's defense. The Eagles haven't done a great job of stopping opponents' rushing attacks all season and this continues on Tuesday. Northern Illinois uses its ground game to dictate the tempo of the game and create easy passing opportunities for Bowers to sustain drives. As the game progresses, Northern Illinois does a better job limiting Eastern Michigan's rushing attack while using their physicality on both sides of the line to wear down the Eagles. The Huskies will pull away late with a score to win by one possession.
Prediction: Northern Illinois -4.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Neither defense is that great heading into this contest. Combined, they surrender 59 points per game. Look for the offenses to have the upper hand in this one. Northern Illinois should have no problems running the ball while Eastern Michigan keeps pace with their depth at wide receiver, creating plenty of open passing lanes for Glass, who'll use his dual-threat ability to create big plays. The Huskies win this one late in what amounts to a competitive game with plenty of points scored.
Prediction: Over 54