Huskie Stadium – Dekalb, Ill
It’s the time of year when many teams are meeting unfamiliar foes. In the case of Northern Illinois and Western Illinois, there is a fair amount of history between the two. The Leathernecks and Huskies are meeting for the 40th time this weekend.
The first encounter was back in 1903 and the most recent was 2009. NIU won the latest contest, 41-6 at home, snapping a three-game Leatherneck winning streak. WIU owns a 21-17-1 advantage in the series.
Uncharacteristically, Northern Illinois enters . . .
► The Leathernecks are ranked 13th in the STATS FCS ‘Top 25’ Poll and FCS Coaches.
► WIU returns 18 starters (9 offense, 8 defense, 1 special teams). There are 44 returning lettermen.
► The Leathernecks opened 2016 with a 38-21 win over Eastern Illinois. Sophomore Steve McShane rushed for a career-high 207 yards and scored two TDs – one on a 70-yard burst to wrap up scoring. McShane is averaging 181.0 ypg through two contests.
► Lance Lenoir totaled 231 receiving yards and scored a touchdown as WIU knocked off Northern Arizona 34-20 back on Sept. 10.
► Quarterback Sean McGuire threw for 336 yards and two scores in Western Illinois’ win over NAU.
► Linebacker Brett Taylor lead WIU defenders with 23 tackles, including a team-high 3.o TFL and 2.0 sacks. Xavier Rowe owns 21 tackles.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS HUSKIES (0-3, 0-0 MAC)
► Although the first game went three overtimes, Northern Illinois has allowed at least 40 points in each of their three contests.
► NIU was down 28-0 in the second quarter of its home opener last week. San Diego State went on to post a 42-28 victory. The Aztecs did much of their damage on the ground, picking up 278 rushing yards. Donnel Pumphrey (5-9, 180) provided 220 of those yards, scoring three touchdowns along the way.
► Sophomore Ryan Graham took over the starting quarterback duties against SDSU and completed 17 of 35 passes on the day. That was good for 213 yards with three TDs and two interceptions.
► Jordan Huff and Joel Bouagnon have combined for 65 carries and 267 yards.
► Kenny Golladay has 19 receptios for 259 yards and three TDs to lead the Huskies receiving corps. He registered five catches for 72 yards and a score last week after getting four receptions for 43 yards at South Florida the previous week. Christian Blake has added 13 receptions to 154 yards to the Huskies cause thus far.
► LB Bobby Jones leads the defense with 28 tackles and 4.0 TFL. Defensive back Mycial Allen owns 22 tackles with one interception.