The last bowl before the big dance – the Allstate BCS Championship Game the next day and what a doozy as both teams come into this game with a combined 17-game winning streak.
These two teams have met seven times before between 1990 and 1996, with Northern Illinois having won six of those seven meetings. The last meeting in 1995 was a 31-30 NIU win.
But this year, the two could not be more different on offense. Both of these teams sit in the top 25 in total yards, but that is where their similarities end.
While Arkansas State is led by their do-it-all quarterback Ryan Aplin, who likes to pass the ball as much as he can, the Huskies Chandler Harnish leads a run-first Northern Illinois scheme.
When: Sunday, Jan 8, 2012 9:00 PM EST
Where: Ladd Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL
LINE: -1.5 , O/U 63
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The spread and total number set by the odd makers suggests that this game will be a close, shootout type game. Honestly, it is pretty hard to argue against that with the two teams involved.
Both of these teams average well over 30 points per contest which should make the high total number very attainable. However, Arkansas States defense could throw a wrinkle into things if Northern Illinois doesnt bring its A game. The Red Wolves will likely cover the spread if they just continue to play good, disciplined football.
Sure, that may sound a little cliché to say in a bowl game of this magnitude, but there really is not much else to be said. Arkansas State is a very good, well coached football team. They could run into trouble if Aplin makes a few mental mistakes, but if they continue to ride their strong passing attack, they should be able to fend off the Huskies.
It is worth noting that the Red Wolves have a very strong rushing defense, which is probably the reason they are a slight favorite in this one. If they are able to slow down Northern Illinois’ rushing attack, they will win this one by quite a bit more than the 1.5 points given.
I realize that it is just a small number on paper, but my gut tells me it is going to be a lot tougher than that for the Huskies. They rely very heavily on running the football, and it wont be an easy thing to accomplish against the Red Wolves who possess the 15th ranked run defense in the county. So for the Huskies to pull this one out, they are going to have to get something done through the air.
Northern Illinois is going to have to score at least thirty points in this one just to keep pace, fist they will have to get past a Red Wolves defense that is allowing under 20 points per game.
For the Huskies to take this one, they will have to force multiple turnovers, and try to get at least one or two defense scores. They will need a +2 turnover differential to take this one in the end. This just doesnt appear to be an even match when you take a closer look, but then again both teams do come into this contest on a roll and we all know stranger things have happened in a bowl game. Like when Boise State was upset by the 7-5 East Carolina Pirates, 41-38 in the 2007 Hawaii Bowl. No matter, this will be a high scoring game, but one that the Huskies find themselves behind in almost constantly. I think the under would be a safe bet here, with Arkansas State covering the spread by a decent amount. HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY.LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW