This years Humanitarian Bowl will present the college football fan with an underrated game featuring two over achieving teams from small conferences. Despite finishing fourth in the WAC Fresno State managed to defeat two of the three BCS conference teams they played, falling only to Ole Miss, and played Nevada tough for four quarters losing by a single point. Meanwhile Northern Illinois dominated the MAC going undefeated in the regular season before being upset in the MAC Championship Game. The Huskies lost Head Coach Jerry Kill to Minnesota and will be playing impress their new head coach, Dave Dorean.
3 Keys From the Scouts
1. Rouse vs. Spann. Both teams have excellent running backs. Spann’s numbers were far more impressive but Rouse might be the more explosive play maker of the two. Both average 99.5 total yards per game.
2. Ball control. Fresno State is -10 in turnovers while Northern Illinois is +10. That is a difference of 20. Is Fresno State good enough to give the beat Northern Illinois and give them two extra possessions? Not likely. The Bulldogs better hold onto the ball.
3. Huskies offensive line vs. Bulldogs defensive line. The Huskies have allowed only 13 sacks and 58 tackles for loss this season. Fresno State has accounted for 35 sacks and 82 tackles for loss this season. Bulldog defensive ends Chris Carter and Logan Harrell both have double digit sacks. If the Fresno State defensive line can disrupt the Huskies rushing attack on early downs then Carter and Harrell could feast on third downs. Northern Illinois converts 51% of its third downs on the year largely because they are in short yardage and have the option to either run or pass. Taking away that option will generate turnover opportunities.
Bold Predictions: Northern Illinois was dominant all season. The loss of Kill should not be ignored however. Kill is an offensive guru that has won wherever he has been. The Huskies live and die by their offense. It will be a lot to ask of them to adjust to the loss of their leader, and play caller, while overcoming one of the most talented teams they have faced all year. Fresno State 34 Northern Illinois 24
|FA||Chad Spann||RB||28||4Sr||Versatile ball handler that produces in a variety of ways. Could find a home as a third down back if he adds the element of return specialist.|
|FA||Landon Cox||WR||80||5Sr||Nice sized possession receiver that plays a strong game.|
|FA||Trevor Olson||T||62||4Sr||Nice sized tackle prospect with a good upside.|
|FA||Chandler Harnish||QB||12||4Jr||Underrated quarterback that makes terrific decisions in the pocket and effectively leads the offense.|
|FA||Chris Smith||CB||5||5Sr||Athletic cornerback that flashes skill. Practice squad prospect.|
|4th||Chris Carter||OLB||43||4Sr||Terrific college pass rusher who projects to outside linebacker in the NFL.|
|FA||Ryan Colburn||QB||15||5Sr||Underrated passer that’s very accurate and smart.|
|FA||Andrew Jackson||G||69||5Sr||Potential position blocker.|
|FA||Devan Cunningham||G||79||4Sr||Large rumbling blocker only good in a small area.|
|FA||Christopher Lewis||DE||93||5Sr||Lines up at defensive tackle for FSU. Undersized but explosive and plays with good pad level.|
|FA||Ben Jacobs||ILB||54||5Sr||Tough, nasty, run defending linebacker that struggles against the pass.|
|FA||Kenny Wiggins||T||60||5Sr||Marginally athletic small area blocker.|
Game Preview: Brent Foshee
Prospect Preview: Tony Pauline