Early impressions: NIU vs. Toledo

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Northern Illinois will look to turn its fortunes around against Toledo when the Huskies (7-2, 5-0 Mid-American Conference) host the Rockets (6-3, 5-0 MAC) on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Huskie Stadium for a game that could ultimately the MAC West representative in the conference championship game.

The Huskies have lost 14 of their last 16 against the Rockets, including a 20-19 loss at the Glass Bowl last year. NIU defeated Toledo 38-7 in 2008.

"They got some skill players that present problems," NIU coach Jerry Kill said. "They presented problems for us a year ago. We're going to have to be ready to play. They're going to be good in all three phases of the game. They wouldn't be where they're at if they weren't a good football team. We certainly understand that. I'm just glad we're playing at home."

Second-year Rockets coach Tim Beckman has turned the program around after taking over a team that went 3-9 in 2008.

"After watching Northern play, I think the thing we're very comparable in now is the turnover ratio," Beckman said. "I know they've won some football games because of it and so have we. They're both pretty evenly matched football teams. I think they got a little bit more senior leadership in some key positions: quarterback, running backs and a couple of their wide receivers. I do see a very, very talented football team. We have to do what we do right."


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Will NIU football win the MAC this season?