Final thoughts: NIU 48, WMU 34
Watching the first half of this game, it looked like an NIU win was very much in doubt. However, the second half was a different story, and the Huskies improve to 8-1 and 5-0 in Mid-American Conference play.
The Huskies scored 31 points in the second half after trailing at halftime.
Jordan Lynch continues to impress with both his running and throwing ability, and he added six more touchdowns to his yearly total Saturday.
NIU will host UMass next Satuday at 2:30 p.m. at Huskie Stadium. All signs point to the Wednesday, Nov. 14 game against Toledo being a winner-take-all showdown for the MAC West title.
End of the third quarter: NIU 31, WMU 21
As has been the case a good amount of times so far this season, NIU looks like a completely different team in the second half. The Huskies defense has played a lot better, and the offense has answered with two rushing touchdowns by Jordan Lynch. He's accounted for all four of NIU's touchdowns so far.
This is the third consecutive game Lynch has passed and ran for at least two touchdowns.
Halftime: WMU 21, NIU 17
Well, that was a heck of a kick by NIU's Mathew Sims to end the first half, pulling the Huskies to within four points of WMU. I sure didn't think it had the distance, but the 54-yard field goal is a school record. Sims' previous career-high was 44 yards.
Great kick, and yet another gutsy call by Dave Doeren.
It's a least a nice momentum change at the end of a subpar first half for NIU.
A big concern going into the second half is NIU's lack of production from the tailback position. The unit has carried the ball just five times for nine yards. That's a lot of pressure to put on Jordan Lynch.
End of the first quarter: WMU 14, NIU 7
NIU's defense has gotten carved up pretty badly so far. The Broncos have had two drives, scoring both times, moving the ball 90 yards to take a 14-7 lead late in the first. WMU has already racked up 174 yards of total offense.
When it comes to the Huskies offense, it seems NIU is running the quarterback draw more than normal. Jordan Lynch already has eight carries for 41 yards.
One more injury note, Leighton Settle is in uniform but hasn't carried the ball yet. He was another Huskie who was banged up in practice this week.
2 minutes until kickoff
At the beginning of the season, I thought this would be a key game in the MId-American Conference. Right now though, NIU clearly comes into the game as the much stronger team.
My prediction: NIU 28, Western Michigan 14
15 minutes until kickoff
One major injury note to point out — cornerback Rashaan Melvin isn't in uniform. I know he's been fighting a knee injury for awhile now, and he didn't practice Wednesday.
I didn't see Perez Ashford on the field either, but Doeren wasn't optimistic about him playing. One more starter who won't play is safety Dechane Durante. Expect him back in the next week or two.
The Huskies do catch a break, in the fact Western Michigan wideout Jaime Wilson won't play. He has 59 catches for 706 yards and six touchdowns on the season.
30 minutes until kickoff
Waldo Stadium's setup is pretty interesting, as the side the press box is on is literally built into a hill. I walked from my car straight into the box. It's a nice setting here in Kalamazoo.
Right now, both teams are warming up on the field, and I had one instant observation when I stepped into my seat: Western Michigan's alternate uniforms are terrible.
Absolutely awful. The Broncos feature black jerseys and pants, which are pretty plain with no names on the back. And the helmets, the helmets are silver.....
— Steve Nitz, email@example.com, @SNitz_DDC on Twitter