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Northern Illinois vs. Western Michigan 11/28/2020 College Football Picks, Prediction, and Preview

The Northern Illinois visits Western Michigan on 11/28/2020 at 12:00PM.

Northern Illinois and Western Michigan 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 0-3 this season. Western Michigan is 3-0 this season. Both have players to meet and know.

Northern Illinois Team Defense Preview

Northern Illinois has had 35 defensive drives in non-garbage time minutes and they yield 4.77 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 39.52% of their opponents’ play calls.Their opponents favor running the ball as opposed airing it out.

Defenses want to stop offenses from getting into a 3rd Down where the options are plentiful. Unfortunately, this defense is too porous to limit those choices. Opponent rushing yards attributed to their offensive line this season comes out to 3.0 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 is better at stopping the run than the pass this season.

Northern Illinois Team Offense Preview

Northern Illinois has had 37 total drives this season and they generate 4.46 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. Northern Illinois passes the football 54.55% of the time.Northern Illinois tends to pass more than other teams.

Northern Illinois is not doing anything particularly special as far as their ability to avoid negative yardage plays on the ground. 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. Northern Illinois can take credit for 2.39 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.

Western Michigan Team Defense Preview

Western Michigan has had 32 defensive drives in non-garbage time minutes and they yield 5.25 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive opponents run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. Western Michigan has a generally average defense. Nothing too special about it, but they are capable of rising up when needed. Western Michigan opponents pass the football 53.57% of the time.Western Michigan tends to face teams that prefer to air it out or opponents want to air it out against them.

Western Michigan opponents have struggled with running the ball and this defense has crushed the spirits of their opponents with zero or negative yard plays. 4th and Short is not a cake walk against this defense, maybe passing on 4th and Short or having some sort of RPO is the way to go here because if an Offensive Coordinator thinks that they can just line and run a Quarterback Sneak or hand it off to a tailback, they are mistaken. How effective are opposing offensive lines given what we know about their ability to force negative yardage rushing plays? Western Michigan can take credit for holding the offensive line of their opponent to 2.44 yards per carry. Opponent offensive lines have been simply unable to support their running games against this defense. When it comes to getting to that second level, running backs are getting stopped. This defense does not allow themselves to be gashed. 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.

Disruptive plays are a part of the fabric of this team’s defensive effort. Game changing plays that drive Offensive Coordinators and Quarterbacks crazy, they find ways to deliver. Western Michigan 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. Western Michigan is better at stopping the run than the pass this season.

Western Michigan Team Offense Preview

Western Michigan has had 32 total drives this season and they generate 5.06 plays per drive. Relatively speaking, Western Michigan 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. Any defense is in for a challenge with Western Michigan, 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.Western Michigan passes the football 37.65% of the time.They favor running the ball as opposed airing it out.

On first downs, getting ahead of the chains is crucial and running the ball well on first down can get a team there, Western Michigan has done a good job avoiding the negative yardage rushing plays. 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 3.54 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 feature a relatively average explosiveness in the running game, maybe there will be a breakout rushing play, but it is not something to count on from them.

Western Michigan has bullied and controlled defenses this season, defenses have not been able to dictate what this offense is able to do to them. Opponents should consider a containment strategy. Western Michigan is among the best in the country at keeping defensive front sevens at bay. Opposing defenses need their secondary players to step up and cause trouble in order for this Offense to be disrupted. Western Michigan 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 641 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has thrown 2 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 116.4thus far this season. Ross Bowers has thrown 2 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Ross Bowers has -23.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 7.87 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 8.0 times this season, which puts him in the 37.21 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 0.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Harrison Waylee RB 5-10 180

This season, Harrison Waylee has 152 rushing yards on 40 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 0 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Harrison Waylee picked up 4 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.

Tyrice Richie WR 6-0 193

This season, Tyrice Richie picked up 284 yards. He caught the ball 27 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 1 receiving touchdowns this season.

James Ester DT 6-2 294

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Northern Illinois, James Ester has 10 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 1 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 59.39 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 34.51 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 12 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 68.37 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 70.17 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 1 fumbles this season.

Devin Lafayette S 6-2 191.0

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, Devin Lafayette had 17 tackles which puts him in the 63.4 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 1 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 75.36 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 1 times last season. Devin Lafayette as a ball hawker was able to pick off 0 passes last season, which puts him in the 39.16 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 18 tackles which puts him in the 75.99 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 35.17 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 83.79 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

The Western Michigan Roster

The Players to Watch for Western Michigan

Kaleb Eleby QB 6-1 215

This season, Kaleb Eleby has put up 928 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has thrown 1 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 240.4thus far this season. Kaleb Eleby has thrown 1 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Kaleb Eleby has 10.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 40.82 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 13.0 times this season, which puts him in the 48.85 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 3.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Sean Tyler RB 5-9 185

This season, Sean Tyler has 262 rushing yards on 36 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 2 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Sean Tyler picked up 68 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 11 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

D’Wayne Eskridge WR 5-9 190

This season, D’Wayne Eskridge picked up 457 yards. He caught the ball 14 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 6 receiving touchdowns this season.

Ralph Holley DT 6-2 285

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Western Michigan, Ralph Holley has 11 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 5 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 95.77 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 77.7 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Marshawn Kneeland DE 6-4 255

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Western Michigan, Marshawn Kneeland has 22 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 68.37 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 2 times this season, which put him in the 83.9 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Bricen Garner S 6-1 190.0

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 Western Michigan, Bricen Garner had 25 tackles which puts him in the 77.64 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 2 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 88.98 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. Bricen Garner as a ball hawker was able to pick off 0 passes last season, which puts him in the 39.16 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

Patrick Lupro CB 5-10 185

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 Western Michigan, Patrick Lupro had 12 tackles which puts him in the 62.69 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 2 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 92.66 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. Patrick Lupro as a ball hawker was able to pick off 0 passes last season, which puts him in the 38.07 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

Northern Illinois vs. Western Michigan Prediction, Picks, and Odds


Prediction: Northern Illinois 18 Western Michigan 39

Spread Pick: Western Michigan -19.5 -107 5Dimes
Moneyline Pick: Western Michigan -849 SportsInteraction
Total Pick: Under 65 -115 Bookmaker