GoDaddy.com Bowl Key Matchup
Posted on: January 5, 2012 12:50 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 12:51 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
A look at the key matchup that could determine the BBVA Compass Bowl.
Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois vs. Arkansas State defense
Northern Illinois' offense is averaging 481.8 yards per game in 2011, good enough to place the unit ninth in the nation. Quarterback Chandler Harnish finished the season eighth in the country in total offense, averaging 332.6 yards of total offense per game. All of which means Harnish was accountable for 69% of the Huskies offense this season.
So, as you can see, as Harnish goes, so go the Huskies.
Harnish did all of this with both his arm and his legs, averaging 245 yards through the air and 115 yards on the ground per game. With a dual threat like that at quarterback, to stop him it will be up to the entire Arkansas State defense, not just its defenslve line, linebackers or secondary. Not an easy task, but one that Arkansas State's defense seems up to. This unit, which finished 14th in the nation in total defense, is easily the best defense statistically that Harnish will face this season.
The best way for Arkansas State to do this would be to make Harnish one-dimensional. Whether that be by forcing him to throw to beat them, or taking away the passing game, that's up to the Red Wolves. This defense is strong in both areas. What matters is that they execute their game plan and force Harnish to be predictable because Northern Illinois' defense -- which gave up 31.1 points per game -- is going to give up a lot of points. So if Arkansas State can slow Harnish down and keep the Huskies from putting up a ton of points, then Arkansas State should win this game rather comfortably.
Check out all the latest updates on Northern Illinois and Arkansas State right up until kickoff at the GoDaddy.com Bowl Pregame
Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview