Huskies need leaders to step up in MAC run

By Tony Osborne

NIU will head into its second of a three-game MAC road trip.

The Huskies will need the consistency of their veteran-laden offensive line, and get some players jump started to have all three phases of the game under wraps.

Among the NIU offense, Jasmin Hopkins, Chandler Harnish and Nathan Palmer are players who need to stay hot in order to win the final four games of the season.

Hopkins, who averaged three touchdowns in the past two games, managed to do so quietly, keeping under the radar.

Having a productive back in the red zone like Hopkins feeds into the success of the NIU offense. 

Harnish, the redshirted senior play caller, continued to show versatility with his ability to get out of the pocket, read the defense and make a decision from there. Harnish has thrown for 12 touchdowns, on 1697 yards so far this season.

Harnish has also dominated the ground game, recording eight touchdowns with 531 yards rushing.

If Harnish plays with the consistency that he has shown in his career, there should be no trouble picking apart the defense’s of Toledo, Ball State, Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan.

Palmer has been a solid connection for Harnish throughout the whole season.

Palmer caught 27 passes for 329 yards with one touchdown.

Although there are a slew of receivers for Harnish to throw to, it is crucial for a team to have one guy to make the explosive play with the game on the line.

The next four games have turned out to be the most important games of the season, with the MAC Championship on the line.

On the defensive side of the ball, the front four have racked up the sack totals in the past few games.

NIU’s defensive line made a name for itself for rebounding against Kent State after a crushing defeat at Central Michigan.

Against the Golden Flashes, the Huskies recorded a season-high seven sacks, propelling them into a three game winning streak.

Although, against Buffalo, the Huskies did not record a single sack against the talented Buffalo quarterback Chazz Anderson.