College Football News Preview 2020: Northern Illinois Huskies

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

College Football News Preview 2020: Northern Illinois Huskies

Northern Illinois

College Football News Preview 2020: Northern Illinois Huskies


College Football News Preview 2020: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Northern Illinois Huskies season with what you need to know.

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– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
Top Players | Key Players, Games, Stats
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Schedule Analysis
– Northern Illinois Previews 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

2019 Record: 5-7 overall, 4-4 in MAC
Head Coach: Thomas Hammock, 2nd year, 5-7
2019 CFN Final Opinion Ranking: 112
2019 CFN Final Season Formula Ranking: 92
2019 CFN Preview Ranking: 88

No one knows what’s going to happen to the 2020 college football season. We’ll take a general look at where each team stands – doing it without spring ball to go by – while crossing our fingers that we’ll all have some well-deserved fun this fall. Hoping you and yours are safe and healthy.

5. College Football News Preview 2020: Northern Illinois Huskies Offense 3 Things To Know

Northern Illinois football has been about running it behind a great offensive line, getting an efficient enough passing game to get by, and controlling the clock and tempo.

The time of possession side of things was great under new head coach Thomas Hammock, but that was about it for an O that finished 104th in the nation overall, averaged just 23 points per game, and didn’t get the running game going well enough. In comes South Dakota State offensive coordinator Eric Eidsness to try changing all of that with a bit more of a wide-open attack.

It’s going to take a whole lot of work.

CFN in 60 Video: Iowa Preview
Northern Illinois at Iowa, Sept. 26

The running game worked around Tre Harbison and his 1,021 yards and eight touchdowns. Now he’s a Charlotte 49er. QB Marcus Childers was the second-leading rusher – he’s gone, too.

Jordan Nettles is back, though, as a 177-pound speed option who ran for 274 yards – that’s about it. Freshman Jevyon Ducker and JUCO transfer Erin Collins will get their shot for an O that has to find a main man from out of all the young running back options.

The O line wasn’t up to its normal Northern Illinois snuff, and now it has to be better with center CJ Perez off to Temple. There’s experience coming back, starting with senior Benn Olson at one guard spot and 6-6, 317-pound sophomore Marques Cox working at tackle.

The quarterback situation needs to get the backups in order, but former Cal transfer Ross Bowers is a good starter if the gets the help to do more. He’s not a runner, but he only threw seven touchdown passes and eight picks. New recruit Dustin Fletcher is the most talented backup option, but the proven depth is non-existent.

Cole Tucker led the team with just 38 catches for 531 yards and a score, and former JUCO transfer Tyrice Richie returns after coming up with a team-high four touchdown passes. However, losing top TE Mitchell Brinkman to USF hurts – he was second on the team in receiving yards.

NEXT: College Football News Preview 2020: Northern Illinois Huskies Defense 3 Things To Know

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