No. 25 Michigan hosts Northern Illinois, former Spartans QB

·2 min read
Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) celebrates his 67-yard touchdown with offensive lineman Andrew Stueber, center, and quarterback Cade McNamara (12) in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Washington in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

Northern Illinois (1-1) at No. 25 Michigan (2-0), Saturday at noon EDT (Big Ten Network).

Line: Michigan by 27 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Michigan leads 1-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Michigan can stay ranked with another win and continue to build momentum, going into next week's Big Ten opener against Rutgers and its first big test in two weeks on the road against No. 18 Wisconsin.

KEY MATCHUP

Michigan's running game against Northern Illinois' defense. If the Wolverines can run the ball as they have so far this season, the Huskies will not have a chance to be competitive in a game they're expecting to lose by about four touchdowns. Michigan is averaging 339 yards rushing a game, ranking fourth in the nation, with Blake Corum and Hassan Haskin running through huge holes.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Nothern Illinois QB Rocky Lombardi. The transfer led Michigan State to a 27-23 win at Michigan Stadium last year, throwing for a career-high 323 yards and a career-high matching three touchdowns. Lombardi also made his college debut in the Big House three years ago.

Michigan QB Cade McNamara. His job has been to hand the ball off early and often, averaging just 13 pass attempts over the first two games. The Huskies and other teams will likely put eight defenders in the box, daring McNamara to beat them through the air.

FACTS & FIGURES

Michigan beat Northern Illinois 33-17 in 2005. ... The Huskies opened with a 22-21 win at Georgia Tech on a touchdown pass and 2-point conversion with 38 seconds left. They lost 50-43 to Wyoming at home, rallying from a 26-point deficit to lead by one before giving up a score with 1:35 remaining. ... Corum leads the country with 221.5 all-purpose yards per game. ... Northern Illinois RB Harrison Waylee is averaging 161.5 yards rushing, ranking third in the country, and has run for 100 yards in four straight games. ... The Wolverines are 34-1 against Mid-American Conference teams, losing to Toledo in in 2008.

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