Oddsmakers still aren’t giving NIU a ton of credit heading into the week 12 Northern Illinois at Buffalo matchup. At 5-1 in the conference, the Huskies can punch their ticket to the MAC championship game with a win thanks to their having the tie breaker over 4-2 Central Michigan. NIU has won six of their last seven, including 30-29 at home against Ball State last week as +3 point underdogs.
NIU is just a -1 point favorite for Wednesday’s visit to Buffalo, who is just 2-4 in the conference. The Bulls have dropped their last two games while giving up 50.5 ppg. Northern Illinois did lose this matchup 49-30 last season, but that was also during an 0-6 campaign.
NIU Has a Diverse Offense
The Buffalo defense has been getting beat up on the last two weeks in 56-44 loss to Bowling Green and falling 45-18 last week at Miami-Ohio. That’s not a good trend with Northern Illinois and their #2 rushing offense in the MAC (220.3 ypg) coming to UB Stadium.
Jevyon Ducker ran for 155 yards on 24 carries last week, his 4th straight game going over 100 yards. What makes the Huskies so dangerous recently though is that their passing game has become just as big of a threat as the ground attack. QB Rocky Lombardi threw for 348 yards against Central Michigan, 532 to Kent State, and 264 last week in the win over Ball State – that’s a pretty impressive three game stretch. WR Trayvon Rudolph has 6 TD catches in the last four games.
The NIU defense did give up 52 points in a 52-47 loss at Kent State in week 10. The Golden Flashes had 359 yards on the ground and another 322 through the air but that’s also the #1 offense in the MAC. Buffalo ranks 6th in the conference in total yards gained (420.5 ypg).
Buffalo Defense Reeling
The Bulls have allowed 101 points in their last two games, not surprisingly both losses. Miami-Ohio QB Brett Gabbert did whatever he wanted last week against UB, completing 21/28 passes for 358 yards with 4 TD. The RedHawks had another 185 yards on the ground. The week prior Bowling Green had 221 yards rushing as well as 263 through the air.
Buffalo has the #8 rush defense in the MAC and are #6 vs. the pass, very pedestrian. The betting total for the week 12 Northern Illinois at Buffalo is 60, meaning the Bulls are likely going to need to score some points to stay in this game.
The Bulls are going through some QB issues right now with Matt Myers and Kyle Vantrease have both taken snaps recently. NIU’s defense did get lit up by Kent State though, and RB Dylan McDuffie has a couple of 140+ yard rushing games over his last four. In last year’s 19-point win over the Huskies, Buffalo had three defensive TDs.
Week 12 Northern Illinois at Buffalo Pick
The Huskies are just -1 point favorites – but why? NIU can move the ball through the air or on the ground, and their QB Lombardi is a Michigan State transfer that should be able to exploit a Buffalo defense that has allowed over 50 points per game the last two.
Northern Illinois 41 – Buffalo 35
Free Pick: Northern Illinois -1