The Huskies of Northern Illinois appear to be on the upswing with their football program, although a blowout loss in last years Boca Raton Bowl put a sour ending to what was a great season. This year they should finish second in the MAC West, particularly considering that 14 starters will be returning. Looking for their winning ways to return along with them.
Northern Illinois consistently has one of the best offenses in the MAC, even through their various coaching changes. They are exciting and they put up a lot of point, and this should only continue into 2015. There is certainty at the quarterback position, which is a switch from previous seasons. Drew Hare won the position last season and will be back this coming year. He doesn’t have much running ability, but he completes about 60 percent of his passes, and was able to toss 18 touchdowns last year, while only being pick off twice.
Look for this years team to be focused on the pass considering the depth that they have at the wide receiver position. Tommylee Lewis, a senior who had 86 receptions two years ago, will be back after missing last year with a toe injury. Senior Juwan Brescacin is also back, and his is always a threat for the big play. In addition, junior Chad Beebe is back, and he is a possession receiver that gets better every season, and then there is a transfer from North Dakota in Kenny Golladay. There are some questions on the offensive line that will need to be answered, especially with only two returning starters in center Ndrew Ness and left guard Aidan Conlon. Josh Ruka, Linoln Howard, and Levon Myers will be ready to step in, hopefully have gained valuable experience in backup roles last year.
Eight starters will be returning to a defense that did finish 51st in the country in scores allowed last season. They did lose defensive end Jason Meehan and free safety Dechane Durance, however, and that will be a big hole to fill. Combined, the defense did have 24 takeaways and 32 sacks last season, and most of that unit will be back. Three starters will be back in the secondary. Strong safety Marlon Moore is back, fresh off 99 tackles, will anchor that section of the defense, and Paris Logan will be back as well. Northern Illinois University is ready to compete and build on last season’s success.
Head Coach Rod Carey believes his team has the talent to compete with any team in the country and NIU will be tested throughout the entire season. Teams like Ohio State, Toledo, Central Michigan, and Boston College will push the Huskies and make winning the game difficult. Fans will see how how strong this NIU team actually is as the season develops.