Ohio State vs. Northern Illinois Prediction, Game Preview

    Ohio State vs. Northern Illinois prediction and game preview. The No. 1 Buckeyes look to continue their roll as they host the 2-0 Huskies in Columbus.

    September 15, 2015

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    Can Northern Illinois be more than just a speedbump? Ohio State might be everyone’s sure-thing No. 1 team, but Northern Illinois as a program has been on the big stage before against plenty of good teams. This is a bit different. The Buckeyes are performance art at this point, playing against their own high standards of greatness, but NIU is a champion-level program, just at a different level. Just the second time the two programs have played – Ohio State won the first matchup 35-12 in 2006 – these two are always worth the watch. Check out the Ohio State vs. Northern Illinois preview and prediction.

    Ohio State vs. Northern Illinois Preview & Prediction

    Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, September 19
    Game Time:
    Venue: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
    Network: ABC or ESPN2

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    Why You Need To Care

    Northern Illinois is going to be in for a dogfight. Toledo just beat Arkansas. Western Michigan – despite getting thumped last week – is loaded. Central Michigan is strong, Ohio is good, and Bowling Green looks dangerous. This isn’t going to be a walk to another MAC title for the Huskies, but they’re 2-0 to start the season going into a brutal three-game road stretch. Even though the defense hasn’t been anything special so far, the offense has been outstanding with the passing game rocking and the explosion coming when needed. But Ohio State is a wee bit more talented than UNLV and Murray State.

    The Buckeyes were sloppy and hardly sharp, and they still beat Hawaii in an easy shutout. For all the griping over the schedule, NIU is a strong Group of Five team, and so is Western Michigan up next week. Unfortunately, it’s going to be yawner after yawner until November, but could one really bad performance open the door for NIU? If you care about Ohio State as the No. 1 team – it really doesn’t matter – that might be threatened with a poor game and depending on what happens in the Ole Miss-Alabama game. Or OSU could come out sharp and be jaw-dropping. Again, the Buckeyes are thrilling to see right now no matter what.

    Why Northern Illinois Will Win

    Drew Hare is red hot. Obviously the competition has something to do with it, but the NIU quarterback is putting up ridiculous numbers to kick things off. Hitting 78% of the passes against air would be good, but Hare is bombing away throwing for 718 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions in the first two games. He’s a veteran who beat Northwestern last season and at least experienced a big-game atmosphere at Arkansas. If the Ohio State secondary isn’t sharp from the start, and if Hare gets a little bit of time, the yards will come.

    Why Ohio State Will Win

    The Huskie secondary has been hit hard, too. It came up with three picks to help stop the Murray State passing attack, but it also connected on 63% of its passes. UNLV chucked for 329 yards and made it a game. NIU’s pass rush has been good, and it didn’t matter much – the pass defense still struggled. Right now, the Ohio State receiving corps is playing at a whole other level with a foursome in Michael Thomas, Braxton Miller, Curtis Samuel and Jalin Marshall as devastating as any in the country. It’s going to have a big day.

    Player Who Matters

    The Ohio State offensive superstars are getting the spotlight, and what attention the defense is getting mostly goes over to Joey Bosa. Meanwhile, the linebacking tandem of Joshua Perry and Raekwon McMillan are dominating, with McMillan coming up with 15 tackles in the first two games along with Perry – both have made eight tackles in one game, seven in the other. NIU is going to have to throw to win, but this is a running program – that ground game isn’t going to go anywhere with the star OSU linebackers keeping everything contained.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Which Ohio State team is going to show up? The No. 1 team in America is going to show what it really does deserve the top spot. Northern Illinois is terrific, but after two uneven performances, this is when the Buckeyes start to hit their stride. Enjoy the show.

    Ohio State vs. Northern Illinois Score Prediction

    Final Score: Ohio State 52, Northern Illinois 17, Line: Ohio State -34.5, o/u: 66.5

    Must See Rating: 5: Republican Debate, Second Round – 1: Republican Debate, First Round … 3

    MORE: College Football Bowl Projections After Week 2

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