KICKOFF: 12:30 p.m. PDT, Dekalb, Ill.
Records: Idaho 2-1, NIU 2-1
OVERVIEW: Today should be a good barometer for how legitimate the Vandals’ surprising start really is. Northern Illinois went toe-to-toe with Wisconsin before losing 28-20, then upended Purdue on the road last week. NIU probably doesn’t have the same talent level as Washington, which handed UI its only loss, but the MAC school might be more well-rounded. “I think it’s the best defense we’ve seen to this date from an overall standpoint,” Idaho offensive coordinator Steve Axman said. In recent years, the Vandals have fallen flat against quality road foes. But this is a different UI squad, starting with an improved passing game and a run defense that’s ranked first in the WAC and 29th in the country. NIU averages 208 rushing yards per game, led by Me’co Brown’s 6.5 ypc and Chad Spann’s six TDs.
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