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There are only two bowl games this year outside of the BCS that pitted two 10+ win teams against one another. Few probably would have guessed that the GoDaddy.com Bowl odds would be battled between two teams that already have double digits worth of wins. We expect this one between the Arkansas State Red Wolves and the Northern Illinois Huskies to be a special game on the eve of the BCS National Championship.
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GoDaddy.com Bowl Matchup: Arkansas State Red Wolves vs. Northern Illinois Huskies
GoDaddy.com Bowl Date/Time: Sunday, January 8th, 9:00 ET
GoDaddy.com Bowl Location: Ladd Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL
GoDaddy.com Bowl Odds: Arkansas State -1.5
GoDaddy.com Bowl Total: 63
GoDaddy.com Bowl TV Coverage: ESPN, ESPN3.com
If you haven’t seen these two quarterbacks take to the field this year, you really need to make sure that you don’t just turn off the television after the two NFL playoff games on Sunday. QB Ryan Aplin and QB Chandler Harnish are both all over the field and can do just about anything out there. Aplin is setting the stage for what should be a fantastic senior season next year under Gus Malzahn. He threw for 3,235 yards and 18 TDs, and he rushed for 605 yards and nine more scores. Harnish, a four year starter in DeKalb, finished up his senior season with 2,942 passing yards, a 26/5 TD/INT ratio, and 1,382 rushing yards and 11 scores. Needless to say, these are some big time yardage totals both through the air and on the ground, and we don’t think that there will be any different results this time around either.
These aren’t nearly the only key players in this game. The Red Wolves have a fantastic receiver in WR Dwayne Frampton, who caught 90 balls for 1,125 yards and six TDs. He and WRs Josh Jarboe and Taylor Stockemer are the subject of a tremendous quantity of passes, and they could all be in for big time games against the NIU secondary. Though the receivers aren’t quite as proficient for the Huskies, the boys on the ground definitely are. RBs Jasmin Hopkins and Akeem Daniels, along with QB Jordan Lynch combined for almost 1,500 yards this year on the ground, and they all averaged well over five yards per carry. It’s not just the quarterbacks that are putting up the well over 70 points and 900 yards per game that these two teams are averaging.
It’s not like these were that weak of schedules that these teams played this year. The Red Wolves played against a Sun Belt conference that clearly had its best season in league history. They ran the table in conference, going 8-0, and they also stuck with the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium pretty much from start to finish and challenged the Illinois Fighting Illini as well in Champaign. The loss at the Kansas Jayhawks turned out to be a pretty bad one for NIU, and in fact, the 2-3 start to the team’s season was nothing to write home about. After that though, the squad went on a tear. This year, the Huskies scored at least 40 points nine times, and they finished up winning eight straight, including coming back from down 20-0 in the MAC Championship Game against the Ohio Bobcats to win the conference and move on to the final bowl game of the year before the BCS National Championship Game.
We just don’t see any way that these two offenses aren’t going to put on a show. These are two teams that we both circled as clubs that could have beaten some of the big boys from the big time conferences, but instead, they got pitted against either other. We see five TDs for both Aplin and Chandler in some form or another over the course of the 60s minutes, and maybe even beyond. Again we warn you, don’t miss this game. It might not be quite as good as the Alamo Bowl was between the Baylor Bears and Washington Huskies, but the potential is definitely there for some tremendous fireworks.
Free GoDaddy.com Bowl Pick: Northern Illinois/Arkansas State Over 63
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