Football plays for MAC game

By Patrick Smith

Football (8-3, 6-1 MAC) will look to defeat the Ohio Bobcats (7-4, 4-3 MAC) Tuesday for a chance to win the MAC West for the sixth straight season.

The Huskies defeated Ohio 21-14 on the road last season behind a game-winning touchdown as junior quarterback Drew Hare connected with junior receiver Chad Beebe on an 18-yard pass with six minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Huskies’ defense went on to stop Ohio from reaching the end zone on its last possession.

NIU is undefeated at home this season and is currently on a six-game winning streak. Its last loss came against Central Michigan 29-19 on Oct. 3. NIU averages 42.2 points-per-game and has allowed 25 points-per-game since the loss — a plus-17 differential.

The Huskies have the No. 1 rushing attack in the MAC, averaging 226 yards-per-game on the ground. The running game is led by junior running back Joel Bouagnon, who leads the team with 18 touchdowns, 245 carries and 1,175 rushing yards. He’s second in the conference with 106.8 rushing yards per game.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Graham has won three games for the Huskies since taking over for injured Hare. Graham has completed 57 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and three interceptions thus far.

The Bobcats are ranked fifth in the MAC in total defense, allowing 377 yards-per-game. They are sixth in the conference in rushing defense and fourth in pass defense.

Kickoff will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Huskie Stadium. With a win, the Huskies will face off against Bowling Green (8-3, 6-1 MAC) in the MAC Championship game Dec. 4 in Detroit, Mich.