The Tuesday night game (8:00 pm ET) game of the week features a pair of MAC teams in an exciting early start to week 13 of the 2014 college football season. The Northern Illinois Huskies (8-2) travel to Peden Stadium in Athens, OH to take on the host Ohio University Bobcats (5-5) in nationally televised matchup. The Huskies have reeled off 4 wins in a row, including a 27-24 win over Toledo last week and a 35-21 win at Ball St. the previous week, both mid-week MAC-tion games. Ohio U had last week off, but earned a 37-14 win over MAC foe Buffalo at home their last time out. They have lost to Bowling Green (31-13), Central Michigan (28-10) and Western Michigan (42-21) in MAC play, while defeating Akron (23-20) and Kent St. (17-14).
Northern Illinois is ranked 49th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 31.5 points per game and 35th among FBS teams in total offense with 452 yards per contest. Quarterback Drew Hare has thrown for 1,542 yards with 12 TDs and only 1 INT this season in taking over for Heisman-finalist Jordan Lynch. He does not have Lynch’s dynamic running ability, but has done an excellent job of running the Huskies’ fast-paced spread attack. The Huskies rank 55th nationally in points allowed with 25.5 per game and 69th in total defense 400 YPG allowed. NIU is 4-1 on the road this season with a win over Northwestern in non-conference play, with a 3-1 record in non-conference play losing only to Arkansas (52-14) and a 5-1 record against MAC teams.
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Ohio University is ranked 108th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 20.8 PPG scored and 86th among FBS teams in total offense with 374.6 YPG.The Bobcats rank 57th nationally in points allowed with 25.6 per game and 75th in total defense 409 YPG allowed. The Bobcats are 4-1 at home this season, 3-3 against conference opponents and 2-2 against non-conference opponents this season.
Northern Illinois vs. Ohio University Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Northern Illinois Huskies -2.5
@ Ohio University Bobcats +2.5
Over 48.5 (-110)
Under 48.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Northern Illinois vs Ohio University Pick
The Huskies are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 road games, 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games in November but 1-7 ATS in their last 8 conference games. The Bobcats are 7-15 ATS in their last 22 conference games, 1-7 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 Tuesday games. The under is 5-1 in the Huskies’ last 6 games overall, 5-1 in their last 6 conference games and 4-1 in their last 5 Tuesday games. The under is 4-0 in Bobcats’ last 4 home games, 5-1 in their last 6 games overall and 9-2-1 in their last 12 games against winning teams. In head-to-head play, the road team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings, and the underdog is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
The key matchup will be the NIU running game which ranks 13th nationally with 261.7 YPG rushing, against the Bobcats’ 32nd ranked run defense that has allowed 135.5 YPG. They can play the run, but the Bobcats cannot defend the pass ranking 107th in the nation with 273.5 YPG allowed. When the Bobcats played Western Michigan, a team that plays at a fast pace and has strong running attack similar to NIU’s, they allowed 530 total yards including 344 through the air. That secondary and the Huskies ability to run the ball should open things up for Hare to have a breakout game, that should allow the Huskies to cover with room to spare. Take NIU here.