Northern Illinois At Purdue 2013: H&R Staff Picks

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The staff of Hammer & Rails picks Purdue's Homecoming game against Northern Illinois.

it is Homecoming for all Boilermakers everywhere, and Purdue is hosting the Northern Illinois Huskies. it is a tough game, but not impossible, as we need to rally around the Boilers in a must-win game. Here is what the staff of Hammer & Rails thinks.

Rachel Van Gessel

This weekend we're taking on Northern Illinois and it's not going to end well for us. Northern Illinois is getting votes toward the Top 25 and they cannot afford to lose to us if they have any chance of cracking the Top 25. And I don't think they will lose to us. While it won't be a shock if they win since they are favored it will certainly help them in the long run to have this W.

Jordan Lynch is about as good as they get. I don't think we'll be able to contain his both passing and run game. We may be able to stop one or the other. Many of our coaches have scouted Northern Illinois which helps but I don't think we have the talent or the discipline on defense to stop the Huskies. One good thing though is that NI's defense is vastly inferior to their offense. This is semi-encouraging. This should make it easier for Rob Henry but then again its Rob Henry leading us on the field. I think our offense will perform admirably but Jordan Lynch and the rest of the Husky offense will be too much. Northern Illinois 42, Purdue 27

Juan Crespo: Author Emeritus & Badass Meteorologist
When I was a freshman at Purdue in 2009, I wasn't able to buy any season student tickets mainly because 1) I didn't have the money then and 2) my parents wanted me to "study" (who does that anymore?). However, I made it to all the football home games except Notre Dame (because I had to do this thing called work). I was able to get free tickets for all the games except for 2 that I went to, which were Northern Illinois and Ohio $tate. Going into each of those games I had a different mentality. For NIU I thought that Purdue would shake off it's hangover from the Oregon loss in Eugene and beat NIU for Family/Band Day. For Ohio $tate, I thought that it would be Purdue's 6th loss in a row and a Buckeye domination, but hey I get to see a Top 10 team play live in person so I figured why not pay the price? Sure enough, those two games had completely different outcomes, as NIU jumped out to a 28-7 lead in 2009, but Purdue would end up being the Spoilermakers again against O$U.

Though everyone's mentality going into the 2013 NIU game is much different than the 2009 game, I think the outcomes will be the same. NIU knows what is at stake and with a semi-national audience (thank you, ESPN2), they can show that they are still a potential BCS bowl team. Though their defense has been lackluster, it will find a way to shut Purdue's non-existent offense. Heck, Purdue's offense wouldn't be able to gain more than 2 touchdowns and 200 total yards against University Place's football team. Unless the defense and special teams can return a touchdown or two, NIU is going to not only beat Purdue, but also embarrass them just like Toledo did in 2010. Northern Illinois 31, Purdue 14

Thomas Chapman

Yes, NIU is a MAC team and yes it's embarrassing to be an underdog at home, but this isn't your run-of-the mill MAC team. Northern Illinois returns nine offensive starters from last year's Orange Bowl team, including quarterback Jordan Lynch. Lynch entered the season as a dark horse Heisman candidate, and while that movement never really gained much momentum, he has still accounted for 1,066 yards (662 passing, 404 rushing). That's 82 yards more than the entire Purdue offense has combined...and Purdue has played one more game than NIU. Lynch is the dual-threat quarterback we all envision Rob Henry as in our dreams.

If we get the team that showed up against Notre Dame, maybe it's a different story. But the performances we've seen in the Cincinnati, Indiana State, and Wisconsin games hold more weight in my eyes than a rivalry game at home under the lights on ABC. Remember, NIU took down the now 3-1 Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium to open the season. Northern Illinois 31, Purdue 21

T-Mill

As I have said this week, it is pretty much a must-win game for Purdue if there is any chance at all of going to a bowl game, even Detroit. Ironically, heading to Detroit could force a rematch with this same Northern Illinois team, just as what happened with Central Michigan in 2007.

I am reminded not of that 2007 game against Central Michigan, but the 2008 one. That Central Michigan team was also very good led by a dual threat quarterback, and it faced a Purdue team that eventually finished 4-8. CMU went on to finish 8-5 and won six in a row after the loss to Purdue.

Unfortunately, this NIU team is far better. Purdue will be missing Frankie Williams (concussion) and possible Ricardo Allen (ankle), depriving it of two of its better defenders. Jordan Lynch has rushed for more yards by himself in three games than Purdue has as a team in four games. Given that the run defense was nothing short of awful last week, it is not a good sign.

I think the offense is going to play better. It almost accidentally has to at this point, and the Huskies' own defense has been rather bad against the pass. That makes this possibly Rob Henry's Last Stand. Should the offense continue to falter it may be time for Austin Appleby to take over, because the rest of the 2013 season will simply be building for 2014.

I want to pick Purdue, I really do, but I also know reality. Northern Illinois is a very good team that will likely be in the top 25 later this year. A month into the season they have looked far better than Purdue, so I hope I am wrong with this pick. Northern Illinois 38, Purdue 28

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