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NIU-Toledo Preview

The stakes will be high as usual Wednesday night when NIU takes on Toledo.
DEKALB-If NIU has a primary rival it’s the team they’ll be facing tomorrow night. They’ll take on the Toledo Rockets at the Glass Bowl in Toledo.  There always seems to be a lot at stake when these teams play.

And this time it’s the MAC West Championship.  It the Huskies win, the championship will be theirs.  If the Huskies lose, that’ll create a three-way for first between NIU, Toledo and Ball State with one week to go in the regular season.

"We’ve had problems with them in the past, and they’ve always played well, and they’re always fired up to play us, and we’re fired up to play them, so I consider them our biggest rival," says NIU tight end Luke Eakes.

"Every year it seems to come down to us and them," says NIU offensive tackle Ryan Brown. "You know battling for the West and like Luke said they’re always fired up to play us, and it’s always been a good game every year."

The Rockets overall record of 7-3 pales compared to the Huskies 10-0 mark.  But consider who they’ve lost to.  They lost to SEC powers Florida and Missouri in the first two weeks of the season.   Their only other loss was a narrow 31-24 loss to Ball State.

"They have a fine team," says Huskie coach Rod Carey. "They have a great quarterback in Owens. Fluellen I know he hasn’t played in the last couple weeks, but he’s special. And Reedy their wideout is good. Their offensive line is playing good again."

And can the Rockets ever put points on the board.  They’ve scored 45 points or more in four of their last five games.  Last week they put 51 up against Buffalo.

"Their offense probably doesn’t get as much recognition as Ball State because Ball State has the three wide receivers, and the quarterback that are getting the recognition, but I’m telling you they’re very bite as good," says Carey.

The Rockets don’t make many mistakes either.  They’ve turned the ball over only 11 times through 10 games. Everything about this matchup and this game will challenge the Huskies.

"We have to go there. It’s going to be a hostile environment. It’s going to be a Wednesday. It’s going to be a night game. All the elements will play a factor into the full game just like it should when you play outside in November," says Carey.

It’s a 7:05 kickoff.  The game will be televised on ESPN2.
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