Tuesday night college football will see a big game in the MAC as Northern Illinois travels to take on Bowling Green. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. kickoff and it will be televised nationally on ESPN2. Northern Illinois, even on the road in this contest, is favored by 5.5 points with the total set at 65.5. Based upon the Huskies' last outing, where they scored 63 points against Toledo, I think this total is set way too high. Bowling Green isn't a team that scored a lot of points (26 per game for the season) and is only averaging 14 points per game in their last two contests.
Free Analysis: Northern Illinois is coming off a big time 63-60 win over Toledo last week and is currently 4-1 in the MAC standings, putting them in sole possession of first play with a 4-1 record in the West. Bowling Green enters tonight's game with a 4-5 record overall and sits at 2-3 in the conference standings, just a game out of first place in the East, which is led by 3-2 Ohio. Bowling Green has lost three of its last four conference games while Northern Illinois has won four straight MAC contests. Chandler Harnish and the Northern Illinois offense can move the football. They rank 10th nationally in points scored per game at over 40 and currently sit at ninth in the country in rushing yards per game, eclipsing 245 yards on the ground per game. Bowling Green, who has been turnover prone all season, doesn't do anything particularly well on the offensive side of the ball. They don't run the ball well and often have to throw it because they are down in football games. Their defense isn't exactly great either as the Falcons give up nearly four touchdowns per game, good for 66th in the country. Harnish has proven to be a pretty good dual threat this season leading the team obviously in passing at nearly 2,000 yards total while rushing for almost 900 yards. Together he's proven that the Huskies are an immediate threat to win the MAC title and have put themselves in the driver's seat with a win over Toledo last week. Bowling Green quarterback Matt Schilz is going to have to be better than he has been this season if the Falcons are going to hang around in this contest. He's thrown 19 touchdowns and 10 picks this season while being sacked 20 times. The sacks aren't entirely his fault but his decision to hang onto the football in the pocket is. The running game for the Falcons hasn't helped much this season either as BGSU ranks toward the lower end of rushing yards per game in the country. The Falcons are 2-2 at home this season with wins over Morgan State and Temple but losses to Wyoming and Toledo. Northern Illinois has an identical 2-2 record on the road with losses to Kansas and Central Michigan but wins over Buffalo and Toledo.
Free Pick: I like Northern Illinois in this game even though the number and total might be a bit inflated based on last week. They are the better football team and SHOULD win here tonight, if even by only one possession. But then again, we only need one possession as the Huskies are only favored by 5.5 points tonight. If they win by a touchdown, so do we. I'll take that with a team that has played very well in conference this season and doesn't want to let go of the top spot in the standings.
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