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

Pro-Prospects

Northern Illinois

Rnd Name Pos Num Yr Comments
FAChad SpannRB284SrVersatile 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.
FALandon CoxWR805SrNice sized possession receiver that plays a strong game.
FATrevor OlsonT624SrNice sized tackle prospect with a good upside.
FAChandler HarnishQB124JrUnderrated quarterback that makes terrific decisions in the pocket and effectively leads the offense.
FAChris SmithCB55SrAthletic cornerback that flashes skill. Practice squad prospect.

Fresno State

Rnd Name Pos Num Yr Comments
4thChris CarterOLB434SrTerrific college pass rusher who projects to outside linebacker in the NFL.
FARyan ColburnQB155SrUnderrated passer that’s very accurate and smart.
FAAndrew JacksonG695SrPotential position blocker.
FADevan CunninghamG794SrLarge rumbling blocker only good in a small area.
FAChristopher LewisDE935SrLines up at defensive tackle for FSU. Undersized but explosive and plays with good pad level.
FABen JacobsILB545SrTough, nasty, run defending linebacker that struggles against the pass.
FAKenny WigginsT605SrMarginally athletic small area blocker.
FADevon WylieWR74Sr
FACornell BanksDT505Sr

Game Preview: Brent Foshee

Prospect Preview:  Tony Pauline