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Breakdown: Central Michigan's defense

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Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 11:26 pm

Defensive line

The Chippewas will rely on the front four to put pressure on NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish. Joe Kinville leads the defensive front, Darryll Stinson is at defensive end and Steve Winston and Leterrius Walton maintain the middle. Of the four starters, Walton is the only player who has gotten to the quarterback, with 0.5 sacks. Kinville has a fumble recovery and has picked off one pass thus far. Opposing offenses have put up 143.2 rushing yards per game against Central Michigan and have managed to average 30.5 points per contest. The Chippewas' defensive line will have to penetrate and stay in its gaps if it has to slow down the NIU offense. Grade: C-


Middle linebacker Mike Petrucci and outside linebackers Alex Smith and Armond Staten anchor the second level of the Chippewas' defense. Petrucci is second on the team with 29 total tackles and leads the team with four tackles for loss. In his only game this year, Petro was able to account for six stops and a quarterback hurry. Despite their physical style of play, the Huskies can take advantage with their finesse on offense. "We're fortunate to be a downhill team, which fits our players' and coaches' mentalities here," said NIU head coach Dave Doeren. "If [being a downhill team] is hard for [teams to stop], that's good for us." Grade: C


Strong safety Jahleel Addae leads the defensive backfield. He recovered a fumble for a touchdown two weeks ago in a 44-14 loss to Western Michigan. Addae is tied for the team-lead with 31 tackles and also has one interception on the year that went for a 28-yard return. Sophomore Avery Cunningham joins Addae at the safey position and is tied for the team-lead in tackles with 31. Central Michigan likes to put its safeties in the box in order to stop the run. "You're going to see guys hitting," Doeren said. "They come up and tackle well at [the] safety [position]." The corners include senior John Carr, who leads the team with four pass breakups, and junior Lorenzo White. Central Michigan will dare the Huskies to throw the ball, and with a talented group of receivers, NIU could put up some big yards through the air. Grade: B-

Special teams

The Chippewas haven't had a high-powered offense this season, which doesn't give kicker David Harman a chance to use his leg. So far, Harman is two-for-four on field goal tries, with both misses coming between the 30 to 39 yard marks. Punter Richie Hogan has already punted the ball away 23 times, an average of just under six per game. Freshman Titus Davis and Jason Wilson are in charge of putting Central Michigan into good field position for its offense to work with. And if the defense can make some stops, the punt returns will go to junior Cody Wilson. Grade: D



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