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Week 3 Preview: Northern Illinois

Posted By Chad Seely On Sep 16 2011 @ 6:55 pm In Wisconsin | No Comments

The Wisconsin Badgers play their first road game of the 2011 season when they travel to Soldier Field to take on the Northern Illinois Huskies.  With two easy victories in as many weeks, the Huskies should provide the toughest test of the season thus far for Bret Bielema’s Badgers.  

Across the sidelines from the Badgers will be a familiar face in NIU Head Coach Dave Doeren.  The former Wisconsin defensive coordinator was named the head coach of the Huskies on December 13, 2010.  Doeren has the Huskies off to a 1-1 start with a 49-26 win over Army and a heart-wrenching, three-point loss to Kansas last week. 

The last time these two teams met was in 2009 and it was a barnburner.  What was looking like a blowout with the Badgers leading 28-6 late in the ballgame quickly turned into a tense game for both sides.  The Huskies got two scores and had the lead down to 28-20.  They recovered an onside quick with over two minutes to play but they turned it over on downs and UW escaped with a win. 

Back from that contest for NIU is quarterback Chandler Harnish.  The redshirt senior has been starting since his freshman year and is a legitimate NFL prospect at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds.  Last week Big Red dominated against the run, and this week they’ll have to stop Harnish and a very potent NIU offense. 

On the other side of the rock, look for the Badgers to dominate early and often in the run game.   The Huskies have been downright brutal against the run, allowing a whooping 278 yards per game on the ground.  That doesn’t bode well for this matchup as everybody in the building knows Wisconsin is going to run the ball down their throat until they can stop it. 

I expect a tough test defensively for Wisconsin, but they will break down the NIU defense throughout the contest. 

Prediction: Wisconsin 52  Northern Illinois 20

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