College Football Picks, Predictions, and Previews: The Way It Oughtta Be

Northern Illinois vs. Ball State 11/18/2020 College Football Picks, Prediction, and Preview

The Northern Illinois visits Ball State on 11/18/2020 at 7:00PM.

Northern Illinois and Ball State face off in an important game for both teams as every game in this shortened season with limited or no fans in attendance means more. Northern Illinois has a record of 0-2 this season. Ball State is 1-1 this season. Both have players to meet and know.

Northern Illinois Team Defense Preview

Northern Illinois has had 25 total defensive drives this season and they yield 3.96 plays per drive. Relatively speaking, Northern Illinois is not a team that allows many plays per drive. This defense either gives up big plays quickly or induces a lot of three-and-outs, we shall find out more. Northern Illinois has a generally average defense. Nothing too special about it, but they are capable of rising up when needed. Passing plays make up 38.38% of their opponents’ play calls.Their opponents favor running the ball as opposed airing it out.

This is a pushover defense. There is not enough push from the Defensive Line and not enough imagination from the Defensive Coordinator to cause chaos in the backfield.Opponent rushing yards attributed to their offensive line this season comes out to 2.82 yards per carry. Generally speaking, this is an average defense when it comes to how offensive lines control or fail to control them on the ground. This is also a team that is allowing running backs and quarterbacks to get to the second-level in an average fashion. Long breakout runs against this Defense are far too common. This is a very porous rushing defense that is incapable of preventing a situation where their safeties chase down a running back or quarterback.

This is not a disruptive Defense and they get pushed over way too easily. Perhaps they are too vanilla with playcalling. This front seven is simply unable to make an impact, something must change or else the problems will repeat. Northern Illinois has shown themselves to be better at stopping the pass than the run this season.

Northern Illinois Team Offense Preview

Northern Illinois has had 26 drives in non-garbage time minutes and they average 3.69 plays per drive. Relatively speaking, Northern Illinois is not a team that runs many plays per drive. The offense is either prone to faltering and struggles to notch first downs or extremely explosive, we will need to find out a bit more to get answers. Struggles to get ahead of the chains and convert on third and fourth down are common, the offense can stagnate. Passing plays make up 51.04% of their play calls.Relatively speaking, this is a team that favors run/pass balance.

Northern Illinois is not doing anything particularly special as far as their ability to avoid negative yardage plays on the ground. Based on the Adjusted Line Yards metric, which measures the amount of credit that should be ascribed to the offensive line for a rushing play, they average 2.08 yards per carry. So what does this mean? It means that the offensive line has been incredibly disappointing in their contribution to the ground game. When it comes to getting to that second level where linebackers have not crashed down on the line of scrimmage, they are getting stopped with ease. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to bust out big rushing plays.

Defenses have been able to impose their will on the Northern Illinois Offense this season. Front sevens of opposing defenses are causing a lot of problems. Northern Illinois is a better passing team than running team this season.

Ball State Team Defense Preview

Ball State has had 11 defensive drives in non-garbage time minutes and they yield 6.27 plays per drive. The struggle is real. Ball State cannot find a way to get opposing offenses off the field. Three and outs are not common and if the team needs a three-and-out late in a game to get the ball back, it is just not happening.Offensives should lick their lips given their inability to stop anyone, this is one of the worst defenses in the country. The Defensive Coordinator coaching search threads on Ball State message boards are flights of fantasy. Passing plays make up 40.58% of their opponents’ play calls.Their opponents favor running the ball as opposed airing it out.

This is a pushover defense. There is not enough push from the Defensive Line and not enough imagination from the Defensive Coordinator to cause chaos in the backfield.Opponent rushing yards attributed to their offensive line this season comes out to 3.51 yards per carry. Sorry to say this about this front seven, but the best way to make an average offensive line look good is for them to face this horrid front seven. Running backs should look forward to this porous defense filled with poor tacklers who take terrible angles. Opponents have shown a relatively average level of explosiveness in the running game, maybe there will be a breakout rushing play against them.

Ball State has made the turnover belt, chain, pads, lunch pail or whatever gimmick they use change hands a lot. This is a Defense that causes pure aggravation. Ball State should have a sign ready for opponents near the Visitor Locker Room that says “Welcome to Hell”, this front seven is deep and they cause a lot of problems. Ball State is better at stopping the run than the pass this season.

Ball State Team Offense Preview

Ball State has had 12 total drives this season and they generate 6.58 plays per drive. When you are among the best at plays per drive, you are certainly a team that aims to wear down the opposition with a high play count or with long, physical grinding drives that eat up a lot of clock. We need to find out more here when it comes to Ball State. Any defense is in for a challenge with Ball State, given their ability to accrue more than 5 yards on 1st Downs and their ability to convert on 3rd and 4th Downs. They put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses.Passing plays make up 41.77% of their play calls.They favor running the ball as opposed airing it out.

Move the pile forward, falling forward, making progress, ensuring north-south running, smart Quarterback reads, well-adjusted alignments to ensure leverage, and an offensive line that is getting a great push forward are cornerstones of this offense. How effective is the offensive line given what we know about their ability to prevent negative yards on rushing plays? More than you think, thanks to the Adjusted Line Yards metric. Ball State can take credit for 3.97 yards per carry. This is an elite offensive line when it comes to generating a push for the running game. They know how to create creases for running backs to break loose. Playing 7 in a box may not be enough for opposing defenses, this is a great O-Line. The offensive line and running back corps deserve a lot of credit for gashing defenses with their running game like the way they have this season. They are capable of busting out a long run, which is really good when the team has the ball in their own territory.

Defenses have been able to impose their will on the Ball State Offense this season. Front sevens of opposing defenses are causing a lot of problems. Ball State has shown themselves to be a better running team than passing team this season.

The Northern Illinois Roster

The Players to Watch for Northern Illinois

Ross Bowers QB 6-2 200

This season, Ross Bowers has put up 341 yards and 1 touchdowns. He has thrown 1 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 104.9thus far this season. Ross Bowers has thrown 1 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Ross Bowers has -16.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 9.28 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 4.0 times this season, which puts him in the 25.43 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 0.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Erin Collins RB 6-2 210

This season, Erin Collins has 92 rushing yards on 31 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 1 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Erin Collins picked up 3 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 2 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Tyrice Richie WR 6-0 193

This season, Tyrice Richie picked up 176 yards. He caught the ball 16 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

James Ester DT 6-2 294

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Northern Illinois, James Ester has 6 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 0 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 27.32 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 0 times this season, which put him in the 35.37 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Michael Kennedy DE 6-1 220

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Northern Illinois, Michael Kennedy has 7 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 2 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 69.65 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 1 times this season, which put him in the 71.3 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 1 fumbles this season.

Jordan Hansen S 6-1 192

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Northern Illinois, Jordan Hansen had 11 tackles which puts him in the 54.17 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 0 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 34.2 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 0 times last season. Jordan Hansen as a ball hawker was able to pick off 1 passes last season, which puts him in the 86.42 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

Jordan Gandy CB 5-10 175

Considered the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Northern Illinois, Jordan Gandy had 7 tackles which puts him in the 48.57 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 0 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 36.15 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 0 times last season. Jordan Gandy as a ball hawker was able to pick off 1 passes last season, which puts him in the 84.87 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

The Ball State Roster

The Players to Watch for Ball State

Drew Plitt QB 6-2 217

This season, Drew Plitt has put up 541 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has thrown 2 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 141.3thus far this season. Drew Plitt has thrown 2 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Drew Plitt has -3.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 17.7 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 18.0 times this season, which puts him in the 58.42 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 0.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Caleb Huntley RB 5-10 229

This season, Caleb Huntley has 334 rushing yards on 55 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 5 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Caleb Huntley picked up 13 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 1 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Justin Hall WR 5-9 186

This season, Justin Hall picked up 179 yards. He caught the ball 11 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 1 receiving touchdowns this season.

Emeka Jillani DL 6-1 302

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Ball State, Emeka Jillani has 4 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 0 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 23.34 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 0 times this season, which put him in the 32.51 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Brett Anderson II S 6-0 190

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Ball State, Brett Anderson II had 15 tackles which puts him in the 62.97 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 0 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 34.2 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 0 times last season. Brett Anderson II as a ball hawker was able to pick off 0 passes last season, which puts him in the 39.53 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

Antonio Phillips CB 6-0 191

Considered the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Ball State, Antonio Phillips had 9 tackles which puts him in the 55.89 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 0 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 36.15 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 0 times last season. Antonio Phillips as a ball hawker was able to pick off 0 passes last season, which puts him in the 39.01 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

Northern Illinois vs. Ball State Prediction, Picks, and Odds


Prediction: Northern Illinois 19 Ball State 33

Spread Pick: Northern Illinois +15 -107 Pinnacle Sports
Moneyline Pick: Ball State -500 5Dimes
Total Pick: Under 62 -105 Pinnacle Sports