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No. 18 No. Illinois tries to stay unbeaten Tuesday
By: Freddy Wander - StatFox
Published: 11/26/2013  at  6:45:00 AM
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Kickoff: Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Northern Illinois -34.5

Western Michigan tries to pull off the biggest upset of the season as it visits undefeated Northern Illinois on Tuesday night.

Western Michigan has had a season to forget, but it now has a chance to knock the Huskies from the ranks of the unbeaten in its regular season finale on Tuesday night. The Broncos have won only one game on the season, a 31-30 victory versus UMass (also 1-10) on Oct. 26. In their most recent contest, Western Michigan played a close game against Central Michigan, eventually losing 27-22. On the other hand, Northern Illinois has been a top team in the FBS, ranking 18th in the AP Poll and 14th in the BCS standings. In the past two games facing two of the other top teams in the MAC (Ball State and Toledo), it prevailed decisively in both games, winning 48-27 and 35-17. NIU has not always been the dominant force it has been this season, and is just 9-8 SU (but 12-2 ATS) against Western Michigan since 1992. The average score in those games was Northern Illinois 29 and Western Michigan 23. Last season, the Huskies defeated the Broncos 48-34 despite being outgained on offense 489 to 453. Home favorites of 21.5 or more points are 52-22 ATS (70%) in conference games after scoring 35 or more points in a win over a conference rival in the last 10 seasons. However, the Broncos are 13-3 ATS (81%) in road games after having lost three out of their last four games since 1992.

Can the Huskies cover the monster spread on Tuesday night? For the answer, connect to College Football Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The four experts are a combined 52% ATS (109-101-7) in college football Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Dave who is 59% ATS (33-23-2) in Best Bets this season, including 69% ATS (20-9-1) during a run of eight straight weeks of .500 or better. StatFox Brian is 54% ATS (30-26-1) in college football Best Bets this year.

The Broncos are near the bottom of the nation in most categories, but have looked halfway decent when passing the ball. Since QB Tyler Van Tubbergen was knocked out indefinitely at the beginning of October, freshman QB Zach Terrell has filled in with solid results. Terrell has thrown for 1,463 yards (6.5 YPA) with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. He had his best game in the teamís only win against UMass when he threw for 275 yards (64%) and 4 TD with 0 INT. The rushing duties have been split between HBs Dareyon Choice (658 rush yards, 2 TD) and Brian Fields (552 rush yards, 6 TD). Choice has been more effective gaining yards on the ground, picking up 4.8 YPC compared to Fields' 3.9 YPC clip, but Fields has been looked on to do the rushing near the goal line. WR Corey Davis (913 rec. yards, 6 TD) is the only Broncos receiver to have more than 20 receptions on the season, tallying 64 receptions. He had three straight 100-yard, 1-TD performances before catching only three balls for 40 yards and no scores against Central Michigan in his last game. The Western Michigan defense has allowed 35.6 PPG to their opponents this season, but did force five turnovers in the teamís loss to Central Michigan.

Northern Illinois has baffled opposing defenses all season, totaling 549.5 YPG from the offense. The rushing attack is what has really been impressive, averaging 309.3 YPG on the ground, good for seventh in the nation. QB Jordan Lynch has been the catalyst for this team and leads the ground game with 1,432 rushing yards (6.5 YPC) and 17 touchdowns. He has now rushed for 99+ yards in each of his past five games, totaling 13 rushing TD in that span. He has also performed well slinging the ball (2,418 passing yards, 21 TD, 5 INT) and has not thrown an interception in his past four contests (7 TD). Aiding Lynch in the rushing attack is HB Cameron Stingily (958 rush yards, 9 TD), who ran for 146 yards on 18 carries (8.1 YPC) in the teamís 35-17 win over Toledo last week. WR DaíRon Brown (689 rec. yards, 9 TD) has been the Huskies best downfield threat (16.8 avg.) but did not have a catch in two of the past three games. With 74 receptions, WR Tommylee Lewis has 33 more than Brown, but is averaging only 8.4 yards per catch. S Jimmie Ward (74 tackles, 6 INT) leads a NIU defense that has allowed 24.5 PPG to its opponents over the season, and has lowered that number to 20.6 PPG in conference play.

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