Tag:Chad Spann
Posted on: December 18, 2010 9:09 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Humanitarian Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Final Score: Northern Illinois 40  Fresno State 17

Northern Illinois


Offense - The Huskies set the tone on offense early, as they weren't in Boise just to have a good time, but win a football game.  The Huskies drove into Fresno territory on their first drive, and went for it on fourth down.  They didn't convert, but the message was sent.  After that failure, just about everything clicked.  I thought NIU would attack Fresno on the ground more, but Chandler Harnish had a nice day through the air as well.  Harnish finished the day with 378 total yards, 301 of which came through the air, and had 3 total touchdowns.  Chad Spann rushed for 91 yards and two scores to add to his school record of 22 rushing touchdowns this season.  All in all, Northern finished with 40 points and 505 yards.  Grade: A

Defense - While the offense provided more than enough points, the defense didn't let up much either.  The Huskies held Fresno State to 350 total yards and picked up six sacks.  The Huskies gave up a touchdown on Fresno's first drive of the game, and another late in the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand.  Grade: A

Coaching - Tom Matucewicz was filling in for Jerry Kill in this game, and it was the first time he served as a head coach on any level.  He did an excellent job.  Not only was his team prepared for this game, but they had a solid game plan and executed it. On offense they attacked Fresno's weaknesses and even went after the Bulldogs strengths succesfully.  Grade: A

Fresno State


Offense - Maybe it's the blue turf, but Fresno State's offense just doesn't seem to show up inside the city limits of Boise, Idaho.  After being shutout by Boise State earlier this season, the Bulldogs only mustered 17 points against NIU.  Ryan Colburn had a decent game, throwing for 288 yards and two touchdowns, but a lot of those yards came when the game was out of hand.  Not having Robbie Rouse at 100 percent -- Rouse played the game with his left hand in a cast -- definitely played a role in the struggles.  Grade: C-

Defense - You know who else didn't show up?  The Fresno defense.  The Bulldogs didn't look interested in trying to stop anybody from the get go, and because of that, they didn't.  NIU averaged 9.0 yards per play on Saturday night.  That's nearly a first down on every snap.  Grade: F

Coaching - It was obvious to anybody paying attention that Fresno State didn't want to be in this game.  For the third straight year Pat Hill's team laid an egg in a bowl game.  There's a reason Hill is now 0-6 against non-AQ teams in bowl games and 4-1 against BCS teams: unless Fresno State is playing a "big time" team, Hill and his boys just don't care. It's a shame.  Grade: F

Final Grade


Five of the last six years the Humanitarian Bowl game down to the closing minutes.  That simply just wasn't the case this season, as Northern Illinois showed up looking to win, and Fresno State looked like it wanted to be anywhere but Boise.  It's because of this that this game wasn't incredibly enjoyable to watch, and will likely be forgotten about in the coming weeks.  Still, NIU's performance and attitude keeps the game from getting a terrible grade.  Grade: C+
Posted on: December 15, 2010 11:13 am
Edited on: December 15, 2010 12:03 pm
 

Bowl Bonanza: Humanitarian Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Why You Should Watch: Honestly, unless you're a fan of either Northern Illinois or Fresno State, you probably don't think there is a reason to watch this game. It's understandable, but believe us when we tell you there are a few reasons to watch.  First of all, it's been a few weeks since you've had any college football to watch, so it's time to take care of your fix.  Second, while these two teams may not be headliners, the matchup promises to be interesting.

Keys to Victory for Northern Illinois: Obviously things will be a bit different for Northern Illinois during the bowl game.  The Huskies are coming off of a loss to Miami (OH) in the MAC Championship game, and they've also lost their head coach Jerry Kill to Minnesota since then.  Still, with or without their head coach, what Northern Illinois needs to do to win this game is obvious.

Northern has the 7th ranked rushing offense in the country this season behind running back Chad Spann and quarterback Chandler Harnish.  Fresno State hasn't been very stellar against the run defense this season, particularly against spread option attacks like the one that Northern Illinois runs.  So for the Huskies to pick up the 11th win of the season -- which would be a school record -- they're going to need to keep the ball on the ground, and when the moment presents itself, attack the Fresno secondary deep.  Harnish has always been more of a runner, but his passing has improved quite a bit this season, so the Huskies should take advantage of it when they can.

Keys to Victory for Fresno State: The key for Fresno State in Boise will be the men in the trenches.  On defense, the line is going to have to remain disciplined, and maintain its assignments to stop the Huskies ground game.  It's easier said than done, as Fresno's front four has had problems doing this all season.  Still, while Northern can throw a bit, if you take away its run game and force it to throw more than it wants to, you can stop the Huskies offense.

On the other side of the ball, the offensive line will have to protect QB Ryan Colburn.  Colburn has a good arm and is a solid quarterback, but he has a tendency to make bad decisions when he's being pressured in the pocket.  He tends to force passes when he feels pressure, and against an opportunistic Huskies secondary, this won't work well for the Bulldogs.

The good news for Fresno is that the last few weeks off have given RB Robbie Rouse time to heal from rib and hand injuries he suffered towards the end of the season.  What could help Colburn and the offensive line more than anything would be for the team's workhorse to carry the load once again on offense.

The Humanitarian Bowl Is Like: It's like that kid back in grade school that nobody seems to like.  He usually sits alone at lunch time, and the other kids think he's weird and nobody ever pays any attention to him.  Hell, they don't even make fun of him.  Then one day the kid shows up at your house because both your moms go to the same salon and set up some kind of play date, and after you spend they day hanging out with him you realize "Hey, this kid isn't so bad.  In fact, he's kind of cool."  Of course, you never tell anyone at school about this.  You do have a reputation to uphold.
 
 
 
 
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