Date/Time: September 28, 2013 12:00 pm EST
College Football Betting Favorite: Northern Illinois -3.5
The Northern Illinois Huskies have had three close calls already this year, but they enter this game with a perfect 3-0 record. Purdue is just 1-3 in their first four contests. Northern Illinois already topped Iowa earlier this year, and they’ll try to knock off a second Big Ten team in this one. Northern Illinois beat Purdue 28-21 in as an 11.5 point underdog in their last meeting in 2009. This time the Huskies are the road favorite.
Northern Illinois has one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in Jordan Lynch. Lynch put up ridiculous statistics a year ago, and he is back at it again this season. Lynch is completing 63% of his passes, and he has 7 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. He is an exceptional runner, as evidenced by his 404 rushing yards through just three games. He is averaging almost six yards per carry. Last year, Lynch ran for 1,800 yards and threw for 3,100.
Lynch has two very good receivers in Tommylee Lewis and Da’Ron Brown. The Huskies offense needs a running back to step up and take some pressure off Lynch in the running game. Defensively, Northern Illinois has been terrible this year. The Huskies defense allowed 35 points against a hapless Idaho team two weeks ago. They gave up 39 points and 577 yards of total offense against Division II Eastern Illinois last weekend. If Northern Illinois wants to get back to a BCS bowl this year, they’ll definitely have to get better on this side of the football.
Northern Illinois has had defensive problems, while Purdue’s offense has been non-existent for much of the season. Purdue is averaging only 246 yards of total offense so far this year. The Boilermakers are averaging 15.2 points per game. Rob Henry is an athletic quarterback, but he hasn’t proven himself to be very effective throwing the football. He has thrown three touchdowns and four picks this year. He is completing just 56% of his passes. Akeem Hunt is the team’s leading rusher, but he is only averaging 3.1 yards per carry on the season. Hunt is also the team’s top receiver. The Boilermakers are definitely lacking play makers on the offensive end this year.
The Purdue defense doesn’t have terribly impressive numbers this year, but they do have some solid talent. Ricardo Allen is one of the top cornerbacks in the country. He was dinged up last week, but he should be good to go this week. Purdue’s front seven absolutely has to stop the Huskies from running the ball here. They must force Lynch to throw the ball first. When Northern Illinois gets the running game going, they are nearly impossible to stop.
Free Pick: Northern Illinois -3.5
Northern Illinois just has a lot more play makers than the Boilermakers. Purdue will play hard here, but I’m not sure that’s enough. I like the road team to win and cover the number.
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