Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Northern Illinois Huskies Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Eastern Michigan Eagles (0-8 SU, 2-6 ATS) vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (5-3 SU, 4-3 ATS), 7:30 p.m. EST, Thursday, November 5, 2009, Huskie Stadium, DeKalb, Ill. TV: ESPNU
by Ryno of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Eastern Michigan +21/Northern Illinois -21
Over/Under: N/A

Eastern Michigan has had a rough season. The winless Eagles are still looking for their first win of the season when they face Northern Illinois on Thursday night.

The Eagles have only come within 10 points of their opponents twice this season. They have faced three BCS teams – Northwestern, Michigan and Arkansas – and the two top teams in the MAC – Central Michigan and Temple. They lost to the last two of them that they played – Central Michigan and Arkansas – by a combined 84 points. In between those two games, the Eagles lost to Kent State by 22 and gave Ball State its first win of the season. To say the least, Eastern Michigan has not had a very good season.

Northern Illinois has a win at Purdue earlier this season, 28-21. The Huskies nearly knocked off another Big Ten team on the road, Wisconsin, in the first game of the season, 28-20. After the win over Purdue, the Huskies hit a low point by losing 34-31 at home to Idaho. They also lost by a point, 20-19, at Toledo. The Huskies are on a two-game winning streak after notching wins over Miami of Ohio and Akron.

Northern Illinois is a strong running team. The Huskies have run the ball 341 times and attempted 158 passes. Chad Span and Me’co Brown both have over 100 carries and over 500 rushing yards. Span has 13 touchdowns and a 5.4 yards-per-carry average, while Brown has four touchdowns and a 4.9 average. The Huskies don’t pass much but when they do, quarterback Chandler Harnish has 967 passing yards, six touchdowns and only two interceptions.

Eastern Michigan’s best offensive player is running back Dwayne Priest, who has 486 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Jacory Stone is leading the team in receptions with 29 and receiving yards with 325. The Eagles have already gone through three quarterbacks this season – Kyle McMahon, Andy Schmitt and Alex Gillett. McMahon, who was 10-for-19 for 231 yards, three touchdowns and an interception against Arkansas, will likely be the starter on Thursday against Northern Illinois.

Eastern Michigan has the worst rush defense in the country. The Eagles have allowed 277.1 rushing yards per game, 27 rushing touchdowns and a 6.4 yards-per-carry average. The Eagles have the fourth best pass defense in the country, allowing just 146 passing yards per game. But that has a lot to do with the fact that teams are able to just run all over the Eagles and they don’t need to pass the ball much.

Northern Illinois has won seven of the last eight games against Eastern Michigan. The Eagles have lost their last five road games. The total has gone under in four of Northern Illinois’s last six games, but the total has gone over in four of Eastern Michigan’s last six games.

Northern Illinois won this matchup last season, 37-0, at Eastern Michigan. The Huskies ran for 235 yards on 43 carries. Brown ran for 111 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.

Ryno’s Pick: Eastern Michigan is simply a bad team. The Eagles may be the worst FBS team in college football. Some teams lose games because they get unlucky. That’s not the case with the Eagles. They truly are an 0-8 team. On the other side, Northern Illinois is better than its 5-3 record. The Huskies lost by a point to Toledo, by a field goal to Idaho, and by eight to Wisconsin. Eastern Michigan has the worst run defense in the country by far, and Northern Illinois is a very good running team. That’s an ugly combination. This game will be very ugly for Eastern Michigan fans. Take Northern Illinois -21.