at Northern Illinois (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Huskie Stadium, 7 p.m.
The latest MAC football coaches preseason poll had one significant difference with the 2014 MAC Media poll. According to the coaches, Northern Illinois would again prevail in the MAC West. But even the media had the Huskies at No. 2 in the West. The fact is that even without 2013 Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch, NIU remains a solid team with plenty of talent.
That could very well mean a long day for Presbyterian when the two teams collide Thursday night in DeKalb. The Blue Hose, who achieved full Division I certification in 2012, struggled to a 3-8 (1-4 Big Sky) record last year. While its defense improved somewhat over the previous campaign, Presbyterian is still very suspect on that side of the ball.
McKie shined as the league’s best returnman last year. Antigha had a team-high six receiving TDs.
There is experience at running back where Demarcus Rouse totaled 103 carries for 514 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013. LaQua Mayes added 320 yards and three TDs on 71 carries while sophomore Blake Roberts picked up 322 yards with one score on 52 rushes.
Redshirt sophomore lineman Ugonna Akoh led Presbyterian in tackles for loss (14) and sacks (3.5) over 10 games. Former All-Conference linebacker Donelle Williams is back after missing most of 2013 with an injury.
-- Northern Illinois returns 16 starters for 2014 – nine on offense and six on defense.
After years of stellar play in a stable quarterback scenario at NIU, the QB situation remained unsettled for much of fall camp. The matchup against Presbyterian may or may not clarify the picture. More than one QB could see action.
- Kick returner Tommlee Lewis already ranks second in school history for return yardage (1,656)
-- NIU has a 26-game home winning streak. That is the longest in the nation. The Huskies last loss at home was Sept. 27, 2009.
- The Huskies broke nine school offensive records in 2013, including points per game, yards, yards per game, rushing yards and first downs.
- Only Oregon has more FBS wins (47) since 2010. NIU is tied with Alabama and Stanford for second – all at 46.
- Not only is it the Northern’s first meeting with Presbyterian, it is NIU’s first matchup with a team from the state of South Carolina.