NIU needs one more victory to get into MAC Championship

By Tony Osborne

It could be deja vu all over again for NIU football, but this time, the team will hope for a different outcome.

“[The progress we’ve made is] great thing for the program,” said NIU wide receiver Nathan Palmer. “[It’s] showing the program is improving and on the rise. I believe this program will continue and make it back to the MAC Championship.”

A win against the Eastern Michigan (6-5, 4-3 MAC) Friday afternoon would seal the deal for the Huskies (8-3, 6-1 MAC), coming out on top of the MAC West for the second straight season.

The Eagles come to Huskie Stadium finishing their season on a disappointing note after a 3-1 start in conference play. Eastern Michigan is coming off of a crushing loss to Kent State.

The Huskies have their work cut out for them as the Eagles haven’t lost two games in a row since week three and week four.

Eastern Michigan comes into the final season with a different offense than has been seen in the past.

The team’s quarterback, junior Alex Gillett, has run all over opposing defenses, meaning the Huskies will need to keep Gillett in the pocket to overcome his evasiveness. Gillett leads the Eagles with 669 yards on the ground, with three touchdowns.

Gillett comes into this match up with 1,357 yards through the air and 13 touchdowns.

“Overall, [Eastern Michigan] is a physical team, very athletic compared to past years,” Palmer said. “They run the ball now, so we have to take care of the ball on offense, because they can eat up the clock with their run game.”

Many of the NIU players are chomping at the bit to beat Eastern Michigan. The Huskies are close to returning to Detroit for the MAC Championship.

“It feels pretty good,” Palmer said. “With senior night and everything, what better way to end the season than with it meaning something?”