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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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CFB Saturday Northern Illinois at Idaho Free Pick

Saturday CFB and we will see and the Northern Illinois Huskies traveling to Moscow, Idaho to take on the Idaho Vandals. The start time is 5:00 pm (Eastern) and the game will be televised locally. Current Odds have Northern Illinois listed as 28 point favorites, while the total sits at 61.

Analysis: The NIU Huskies opened their season with a solid 30-27 win at Iowa and had a bye week to get ready for this game. Not they will need it as they are taking on one of the worst teams in CFB. The Huskies could be without key contributors in RB Akeem Daniels and WR TommyLee Lewis, who are both listed as questionable for this game. That means that Northern Illinois may need to rely heavily on their star quarterback and thankfully they have the best one in the MAC in Jordan Lynch. Lynch showed how big of a factor he can be during NIU's run to a BCS bowl last season. He completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 3,138 yards and 25 touchdowns against just six interceptions, while also leading the team in rushing with 1815 yards and another 19 TD's. He is the most dynamic player the Mac has to offer right now. Defensively, the Huskies struggled a little vs the Hawkeyes, allowing 458 yards of offense, but they got 3 takeaways, which helped them to the win.

The Idaho Vandals are not a good team at all right now and they enter this game at 0-2, while being outscored by 82-16 in the two games. Petrino used both Chad Chalich and Joshua McCain at quarterback versus Wyoming. Chalich completed 22-of-32 passes for 182 yards and McCain was the Vandals' leading rusher with 49 yards on 10 carries. Chalich has been solid so far with 412 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions in two games. Although its passing game has been mildly effective (217.5 ypg), Idaho is having little success on the ground. As a team, the Vandals are gaining an average of only 3.4 yards per carry on the season, with McCain as the leading rusher with just 73 yards. Defensively is where this team is really struggling, ranking 120th in the country in total defense with 577.5 ypg allowed. Its opposition has averaged 41 points and 26 first downs per contest. Marc Millan is pacing the team with 19 total tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks. This will be the seventh meeting between these schools with each team winning two of three at home.

Pick:  Have to go with the rested Huskies in this one. Idaho just may be the worst team at the FBS level and have been outscored by 34 and 32 points in their 2 games so far. Today's game won't be ay prettier for them. The Huskies have one of the top offenses in the nation, led by Jordan Lynch, and even though he may be missing a few key WR's for this game, there is still plenty of talent on this offense to do allot of damage vs a weak NIU defense. Lynch could actually beat them by himself. Last year he piled up 1815 yards on the ground and 6.2 yards per pop and will be facing an Idaho team that has allowed 224 ypg and 5.3 ypc on the ground this year. Im sure he will use his other weapons though, but you get the point. The Huskies struggled on defense vs Iowa, but this Vandals offense is not that of the Hawkeyes, putting up just 8 ppg in their first 2 games. NIU had a weak off for this one and they have just Eastern Illinois on deck so the should be fully focused here. Idaho has little talent and or depth and just won't have the horses to keep this one close. Let's seal the deal with a solid system here. Road teams who had a bye week after a season opening win are 19-5 ATS if they are facing a team that allows 27 ppg or more on the year. NIU by at least 31 here.  

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