DeKALB — One more loss this season and Northern Illinois will be ineligible for a bowl game a year after winning the Mid-Athletic Conference.
The Huskies’ potential four-game winning streak to salvage a bowl game after a poor start to the season begins against Central Michigan on Wednesday, with both teams coming in with identical overall and conference records (2-6, 1-3).
If these three players have big games, the Huskies will almost certainly come away with a win.
Jordan White, sophomore safety
The NIU high school’s endless injuries have allowed White to play a much bigger role this season. He led the team in tackles a few weeks ago and had four last time out in a 24-17 loss to Ohio.
He was also a bit behind the line, with a pair of tackles for loss and a quarterback rush. This from a guy who hasn’t played in the first two games of this season. The secondary has improved quite a bit over the last few weeks – it’s probably not a coincidence that it’s been the same roster for the last three weeks – and if White maintains that upward trajectory, it will obviously mean big things for a unit that ranks 109th in the nation in passing yards. cleared and 128th in pass efficiency defense.
Devin Lafayette, freshman Huskie
The Huskies used their “Huskie” position, designed as a linebacker-safety hybrid, as a spot almost exclusively for safeties. Lafayette has started there most often, but has been pretty quiet since a big game against Ball State.
He has 10 tackles in the last three games combined, and that was after a five-tackle performance against the Cardinals in which he had an interception and a pass breakup.
Mason Blakemore, sophomore back
Antario Brown and Harrison Waylee have both seen expanded roles on offense since the injuries to quarterbacks Rocky Lombardi and Ethan Hampton. However, Blakemore missed two games and, after six carries against Eastern Michigan, did not carry the ball against Ohio.
Maybe an injury is back in the game – although, as always, good luck figuring this out with the staff’s injury disclosure policy. But putting Blakemore back on the line, even if it’s just to sideline Brown and Waylee for a moment, could make a difference for this team.
We went with: Waylee, Justin Lynch and Michael Kennedy
What they did: Waylee ran 18 times for 97 yards but couldn’t find the end zone. Lynch ran 11 times for 10 yards and was 9 of 18 passing for 110 yards. Kennedy finished second on the team with six tackles, one tackle for a loss, half a sack and two quarterback hurries.