Huskies may have hands full against Badgers

By Eli Gehn

The NIU defense showed why they were a question mark heading into the season Saturday night.

The Huskies (1-1) were the favorite heading into Lawrence to take on Kansas (2-0), before losing 45-42 on a final second touchdown pass on a fourth-and-goal play.

After the pounding NIU put on Army last weekend, the defense just didn’t make the plays they needed to throughout the game against a mediocre Jayhawk offense.

The special teams unit didn’t help the defense’s cause by giving up big chunks of yardage on kickoff returns, putting the defense on its heels most of the game.

The Huskie defense gave up 534 yards to Kansas, including 253 yards on the ground.

If you can’t stop the run, it’s likely the game isn’t going to end well.

In order to keep up with Wisconsin at Soldier Field on Saturday, NIU needs to bite down and force the Badgers to punt the ball or turn it over.

The Huskie offense should be able to put up some points against Wisconsin’s defense. The Badgers are showing no signs of slowing down, averaging 45.5 points per contest in the first two weeks.

But is the pace of the offense too much for the defense?

With the new no-huddle offense at NIU, it’s obvious the Huskies are able to score very quickly when they have possession of the ball.

This, in theory, should lead to shorter rest for the defense.

And when the defense can’t get off of the field, it’s just going to wear them down more as the game progesses.

Two stats prove the above theory.

Kansas had the ball in their possession for over 36 minutes throughout the contest. They also ran 90 plays on offense compared to only 62 for the Huskies, who still put up over 40 points.

There were questions as to if the fast-pace offense would be good for a defense who lost half of its starters from last season. There isn’t a lot of depth on the defensive side of the ball either.

One thing is certain for NIU moving forward: the offense can put up points.

The defense has playmakers. And the coaches will try and get the best out of them heading forward.

But NIU will likely have its hands full against a Badgers team who looks to be unstoppable on offense.