Can Northern Illinois Dominate Again?

Northern Illinois game action

Can Northern Illinois Dominate Again?

A year ago Northern Illinois beat their conference foes by an average of nearly 32 points per game. They even blew out Fresno State in the Humanitarian Bowl by a score of 40-17. This was a team that scored 65, 59 and 71 points in their last three regular season games. The offense may be just as good, which is very scary for all opposing defenses.

However, the NIU defense returns just two starters and that is where the big questions lie. There may be just two or three starting seniors on the defensive side of the ball and none of them have much, if any, starting experience. Making matters worse is Coach Jerry Kill split for Minnesota. However, he left behind a ton of talent on both sides of the ball for new coach Dave Doeren. Now defensive coordinator Jay Niemann has to bring all that young talent together and turn them into a cohesive unit that can again do enough to let the offense win games.

The Huskies start off with a couple winnable games against Army and Kansas before “hosting” Wisconsin in Chicago. Against Army and Kansas the offense should be in full swing with nine starters returning, but that is when the defense needs to build off their fall accomplishments and find the playmakers who can get the job done on Saturdays.

The conference slate does not heat up until the Huskies host Western Michigan on October 15th. After that the team heads on the road for three games in a row, including a trip to their main competition in the MAC West, Toledo. By then, we will know if this defense is capable of coming anywhere close to the unit Coach Kill had last year. If they do not, Western Michigan and Toledo will look to overtake Northern Illinois and claim the west for themselves.



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