I was in DeKalb, Ill., the last time Akron traveled there to face the Huskies.
Garrett Wolfe trampled all over Charlie Frye's Zips for a 49-19 beatdown. The following year, Akron paid the Huskies back ten-fold with a last-second Luke Getsy-to-Domenik Hixon miracle Hail Mary for the MAC Championship.
The Huskies have been longing for a MAC crown since. Akron, meanwhile, went from Cinderella to cellar-dwellers.
As I said in an interview with NPR this week, Akron has a horrible record, but I would never count the team out from week to week. With a youthful, hungry core, the Zips are still a dangerous team.
Just not consistently dangerous. NIU isn't particularly consistent, either. But Jerry Kill's team has been better on its worst day this season than Akron on its best.
NIU wins its games in the trenches. It has averaged about 80 yards more per game in rushing yards than its opponents. Me'co Brown and Chad Spann have comprised a two-man run attack that is certainly the MAC's strongest. Both average 5.3 yards per carry. The run defense, meanwhile, held Miami to a negative 13 rush yards last week.
The other side of the coin is that the Huskies' pass offense and pass defense are among the MAC's least productive. Starter Chandler Harnish is questionable for Saturday's noon kickoff with a knee injury. The other option is an athletic sophomore DeMarcus Grady. The pass defense, meanwhile, gave up 348 passing yards to Miami last week.