Northern Illinois Huskies 2022 College Football Preview
July 2, 2022
Updated Aug 16, 2022
Record – 9-5
ATS – 9-5
Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!
The Huskies UPSET THE APPLE CART and put the ACTION in MACtion. After going 0-6 during the 2020 SCAMDEMIC season they put together a MAC Championship campaign culminating in a 41-23 win over Kent St. They even took down a Power 5 foe on the road (Georgia Tech) and almost came back from a billion points down at Wyoming (L 50-43). That was a MEGALOCKS 888 STAR STUNNING AND BRAVE SUPER LOCK that ended up in a push. Whew. They battled Coastal Carolina to the wire in a 47-41 Cure Bowl loss and finished up with a mark of 9-5.
Do these guys have what it takes to hit BACK-TO-BACK JACKS?
Northern Illinois Huskies 2022 Outlook
The Huskies made good strides on offense LY and put up 30+ PPG (32.2, #5 MAC) for the first time since 2016. They did most of the damage with a devastating ground attack that just kept coming and coming (241 YPG, #4 FBS). The RB unit takes a hit with the departure of #1 rusher Jay Ducker (1,184, 3 TD) and stud FB Clint Ratkovich (13 TD) but still has a talented 1-2 punch on board in Harrison Waylee (574, 5.7) and Antario Brown (538, 6.6). QB Rocky Lombardi has excellent mobility (473, 9 TD) and four starters return to the offensive line. This all means that the Huskies should be able to DO WHAT THEY DO. Lombardi gets his top-two WRs back for battle and Trayvon Rudolph is one of the best in the MAC (51, 892, 17.5, 7 TD). A key to their success LY was pass protection that held opponents to an impossibly-low 11 sacks in 14G (#2 FBS sacks allowed per game, Army). They should do well in that area once again. <update – WR T Rudolph OFY>
Northern Illinois will have to be much better on this side of the football if they wanna make a run at another MAC title. Last season they allowed 33.7 PPG (!) (#10 MAC), 214 YPG on the ground (#120 FBS), and 238 YPG thru the air (#84). Opponents converted 41% on 3rd downs (#92) and they only tallied 19 sacks in 14G. We project them to be much improved in 2022 as they return nine starters and 18 (!) of their top-20 tacklers. Everyone returns up front but they were mediocre LY and we still don’t know if they’ll be able to rush the passer effectively. We’re unsure about the LB corps but getting MLB Kyle Pugh back from injury will help. There are a pair of excellent players in the secondary in FS CJ Brown (1st Team MAC) and CB Jordan Gandy (10 PBU). They look better on paper this year but need to prove it on the field.
It hurts to lose punter Matt Ference but PK John Richardson is rock solid (22-27 FG, 42-42 XP LY) and KR Tayvon Rudolph booked a TD (25.1) in 2021. <update – WR T Rudolph OFY>
Overall – It’s not too bad. The docket is clear of BODY BAG GAMES and they get Central Michigan and Toledo at home. They only play one game on the road in November.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – October 22 – at Ohio
This will be their 4th road game in five weeks and the eighth consecutive week of strapping it on.
Season Win Total
per BetOnline July 2
Over 6.5 -160
Under 6.5 +130
The Huskies will be involved in a lot of close affairs (again) but that feels like a reasonable price.
Northern Illinois has taken down FIVE MAC titles over the last 11 years (2011,2012,2014,2018,2021).
GET CHO POPCONE! The Huskies were CARDIAC KIDS in 2021 and won six MAC games by a total of 25 points. We expect more THRILLS this season and they have a great shot to find their way to another MAC Championship Game. Circle October 8th on your MACtion calendars as Toledo comes to town for a MAC West showdown. Let’s do itttt!
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