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Opponent Overview Northern Illinois Huskies

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MAC Championship - Buffalo v Northern Illinois Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Among the membership of the Mid American Conference, nobody has been a thorn in UB’s side like NIU. The Bulls have played the huskies thirteen times since 1968 and have lost the last twelve games.

Including an epic NIU comeback in the last meeting, the 2018 Mid American Conference Championship game. The last Buffalo coach to beat Northern Illinois, Doc Ulrich, left Buffalo after the 1968 season and was hired by .... NIU

Yup, the pups seem to have had our number ever sine they poached Doc Ulrich. If UB wants to have a memorable season this year they can start by getting the Husky off their back.

And this might just be the year to do it, NIU football is not near their historical high point.

Last season NIU’s offence ran the ball, chewed up clock, and outside of that was pretty awful. Overall the nation finished 104th in the nation overall, averaged just 23 points per game, and didn’t get the running game going well enough.

The key to this season will the be the evolution of Cal quarterback transfer Ross Bowers. He was very mediocre last season but to be honest the line did not help him out a lot. In a bad year he only hit 58% of his passes for 2,130 withseven touchdowns against eight interceptions.

The running game was not explosive but it was consistent and productive. However Tre Harbison who led the Huskies with 1,021 yards last season left the team for Charlotte.

Likely UB will see Jordan Nettles is back, though, as a 177-pound speed option who ran for 274 yards. He’s the most experienced returning running back and the only one with experience in the system. Other than that NIU has Jevyon Ducker and JUCO transfer Erin Collins.

NIU’s defense was respectable last season, finishing fourth in the conference, but the transfer portal was not kind to them either. The Huskies lost defensive end Matt Lorbeck and tackle Jack Heflin.

But they were unable to put pressure on quarterback, getting just 13 sacks on the season.

NIU was looking to be fighting for a six win season before covid hit, they have the bones of a decent team but have taken some huge losses. But this is a home game for the Huskies and they have history on their side against Buffalo.

UB should win this game on paper, then again we were supposed to do that in 2018.