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Ohio Looks to End Season with Win over NIU

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Now with two consecutive wins, the Ohio Bobcats (7-4, 4-3) could match the record of MAC powerhouse Northern Illinois (8-3, 6-1) with an upset Tuesday night.

Ohio enters the matchup coming off of its best offensive game in nearly two decades. The ‘Cats dominated Ball State a week ago in a 48-31 spectacle in which JD Sprague led the offense to 607 total yards and six touchdowns.

If the Bobcats look to compete with the Huskies, they will need a similar offensive day across the board. The NIU defense is allowing nearly 400 yards a game, but its offense is averaging just over 450 yards.

Ohio’s last game of the season could come down to who can remain consistent on offense and who can best control the clock. Ohio will look to have its offense on the field as much as possible and keep the Huskie offense on the sideline.

This is something Frank Solich’s squad has done well, sitting at 27th in the nation in time of possession, as opposed to Northern Illinois who is 112th.

When on the field, the Bobcat’s will be keying on holding on to the ball, which they have done well all year. Ohio has the least fumbles in the nation this season, with just two fumbles lost. The Huskie offense fumbles once per game on average, which could help the Bobcats on what is expected to be a frigid night in DeKalb.

Power running back AJ Ouellette will likely be the one protecting the ball. The sophomore back is coming off of his best game of the season in which he posted two touchdowns and churned out 121 yards.

Sprague will look to capitalize on the momentum gained last week with 275 yards through the air. Sprague was nearly 70 percent on his passes, which will need to continue if Ohio wants to pull of the upset. Northern Illinois is fourth in the country in interceptions per game with almost two picks per contest.

The one aspect that should scare Ohio fans is the games against common opponents thus far. Against the four common opponents, Ohio has been outscored by 11 points, while the Huskies have dominated and scored 70 more points then those MAC teams.

Kickoff in DeKalb is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU.