Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

November 13, 2013

Top offenses clash when Ball State visits N. Illinois

DE KALB, Ill. — Two of the nation’s most productive offenses clash as No. 20 Northern Illinois seeks to extend the nation’s longest current home winning streak Wednesday night.

The Huskies (9-0, 5-0 Mid-American West) go for their 25th straight home win against Ball State (9-1, 6-0) at 7 p.m. (CT) at Huskie Stadium.

“It’s going to be a big challenge for us,” said Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey. “They’re the best team I’ve seen on film right now going into a game and how they execute their game plan overall. . They have a taste for winning and confidence is an amazing thing.”

The winner takes over the MAC West lead and be front-runner for a berth in the Dec. 6 conference championship game. The Cardinals have won seven straight since a 34-27 loss at North Texas on Sept. 14.

Quarterback Keith Wenning ranks fourth nationally with 3,164 yards passing and Willie Snead is third in receiving with 74 catches for 1,175 yards. His 12 touchdown receptions are tied for third in the country.

Last season against the Huskies, Wenning threw a school record 71 passes and completed 42 in a 35-23 loss.

“Offensively they’re very aggressive,” Northern Illinois defensive lineman Ken Bishop said. “We know they like to throw the ball. They come out and attack expeditiously, so we’re just going to have to make sure we’re prepared.”

The Huskies’ pass defense is 107th in the nation. But Northern Illinois compensates with a top 10 offense that has generated 160 points in its last three games, including a season-high 63 points on Nov. 2 at Massachusetts.

It’s all led by quarterback Jordan Lynch, who is 164-of-258 for 1,871 yards and 19 touchdowns and five interceptions this season.

“He’s probably underrated as a passer,” Ball State coach Pete Lembo said. “You get so geared up to stop the run game — the quarterback run game and all the misdirection — that they have some good opportunities to throw it on the perimeter. Their staff is very wise in terms of taking advantage of what the defense is giving them.”

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