Tuesday Night Bites: Can’t harness Harnish!
• Northern Illinois @ Bowling Green, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2: NIU sits atop the MAC West this week with just one conference loss to its name (that weird Central Michigan shootout in Week 5) and a head-to-head advantage over Toledo. The Huskies are riding a four-game win streak in which they won the first two games (Kent State and Western Michigan) by a combined margin of 59 points and the last two (Buffalo and Toledo) by a combined margin of four. While NIU’s defense is nothing to crow about, hipster MAC Heisman poster boy Chandler Harnish will have to be stopped. It really is that simple. He’s the team’s leading rusher, can throw when he needs to, and the Huskies score A Lot. Bowling Green contained Temple and Toledo to an extent, but just lost to Kent State. With their rush-averse offense, the Falcons will have trouble slowing down the game tempo enough to keep Harnish off the field for long stretches of time. Oh, and their defense is also quite bad against the run. They’re a top-five punting outfit, however, so just hang onto that.
• Western Michigan @ Toledo, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU: The Rockets won and broke hearts last week with their 63-60 loss to the aforementioned Huskies. Safe to say they’ll be gunning for a feel-good win against a Broncos team that was considered the class of the directional Michigans after beating UConn and playing then-No. 24 Illinois to within a field goal, only to lose to Eastern two weeks ago in a 14-10 slog. Or will the Rockets still be reeling? They can’t sleepwalk against Western, which has bowl eligibility in its sights and could drag Toledo down into the scrum of two-loss MAC West teams with a win. On paper, however, the Broncos 97th-ranked defense seems to give quarterbacks Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens and receivers Eric Page and Adonis Thomas the high-scoring edge.