DeKALB – As far as Rod Carey his concerned, his team is 0-0.
Northern Illinois is off to a 4-0 start, and became the first Mid-American Conference team to defeat two Big Ten schools in the same regular season with last week's lopsided 55-24 win at Purdue.
Now, the Huskies aim for their third straight conference championship when MAC play begins Saturday against the team NIU defeated in last year's conference title game – Kent State.
"No matter what you did in non-conference, with the way our schedule set up where you're playing all your non-conference in a row and then getting all conference, it really didn't matter, 0-4, 4-0," Carey said. "Everything's still in front of everybody in this conference."
• Kent State got its most dangerous weapon back last week in Dri Archer, who will play both tailback and wide receiver.
"He's fast. Really fast, like probably the fastest guy that I've ever seen on film," Carey said. "I think he might even be a little faster than he was last year."
• Carey said he hopes to have Angelo Sebastiano, who suffered a spinal cord injury against Eastern Illinois, back out there this week. Carey called the sophomore day-to-day, and said he's getting better each day.
• Carey said Akeem Daniels is progressing. He still isn't listed on the depth chart and won't play this week.
• Jordan Lynch only ran the ball nine times against Purdue, his lowest total since he became the starter last season.
Lynch said the Huskies figured the play-action passing game would work, while NIU has plays where there's an option to throw or run. Saturday he ended up going with the pass.
"A lot of those run plays that I threw it on, they were run plays," he said. "I just took advantage of throwing it. We went in with a game plan knowing what we could get."
• True freshmen linebackers Sean Folliard and Jamaal Payton played in Saturday's game against Purdue. Other true freshmen who have played this season are wideout Aregeros Turner, safety Mycial Allen and defensive end Austin Smaha.
• Saturday's game can be seen on ESPN3.
- Steve Nitz, firstname.lastname@example.org, @SNitz_DDC