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Akron vs. Northern Illinois - Preview

By mrasor Published: September 30, 2010

Football
Oddsmakers think fans will walk away from InfoCision Stadium disappointed again.
Akron is a 14-point home underdog, which is one of the biggest MAC spreads I have seen Akron face.
The Huskies have played three BCS schools so far. They lost by 17 to Iowa State, lost by six to Illinois and then beat Minnesota by 11 last week.
They are getting better, for sure. Two of the MAC's best runners are in the Huskies backfield in quarterback Chandler Harnish and running back Chad Spann. Spann, a senior and former walk-on, put up video-game numbers on the Gophers (223 yards on 15 carries).
The Huskies average almost 100 yards more per game than any other MAC team. If I could increase font size in my blog software, I would do it for that sentence. To be exact, 96.5 yards MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE.
So there's the bad news.
The good news is, Akron's not a horrible matchup for a running offense. The Zips' weakness is pass defense, and I suppose football in general if you look at the statistics. But mostly pass defense.
You don't think "rivalry" when Northern Illinois comes to town, but Akron seeks to change that. The 2005 MAC Championship team will be honored on the field.

Fun fact: This will be the fourth different venue at which I have watched Akron play NIU (@DeKalb, @Detroit, Rubber Bowl, now InfoCision). Akron has won two of those three.
It's MAC season now, so "losing with improvement" is not good enough anymore. I think the Zips legitimately have a shot to win this one, but I will pick the Huskies because NIU's running game will eventually wear Akron out.
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