Created:Thursday, September 19, 2013 4:11 p.m.CST

Sept. 19 Q&A

The Daily Chronicle's Steve Nitz answers your NIU- and MAC-related questions right here. Look for a new installment of questions and answers each week. Submit your questions to Steve on Twitter @SNitz_DDC or at

Question from Steve Hatcher

Was the first half of last week's defensive performance just a case of being caught off guard, or is there some real concern?

I think it's a little of both. The Huskies were caught off guard by Idaho's hurry up, which the Vandals hadn't used their first two games. But I thought the defense did a great job of making adjustments in the second half, and you saw how the group dominated.

However, this is a group that's currently 100th in the country when it comes to total defense at 448 yards per game. I think this defense has talent and potential. It needs to get better if the Huskies are going to win a third straight MAC title.

Question from Grant Carter

Do you think Coach Carey really feels EIU is the best team NIU has played to date this year? Or is it mind games to stay ready?

For those who don't know, on Monday's MAC teleconference, Carey said EIU is probably the best team NIU has played so far. EIU certainly isn't a pushover, and I can see the Panthers moving the ball on the Huskies.

I don't think Eastern is a better team than Iowa, who NIU played Week 1. It's probably Carey just wanting his team to focus on EIU and not take them lightly. And this Panthers team shouldn't be taken lightly.

Question from Neil Doughty

Why are Zeb McLaurin and Nick Cieslak no longer listed on the online roster? Are they still on the team?

Both McLaurin (DB) and Cieslak (QB), were preferred-walk ons who have decided to move on. That leaves four QBs on NIU's roster – Jordan Lynch, Matt McIntosh, Drew Hare and Western Michigan transfer Anthony Maddie, who has been practicing with the team as a walk-on.

Will NIU football win the MAC this season?