What: Northern Illinois Huskies vs. No. 19 San Diego State Aztecs
When: Saturday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
Line: Aztecs -10.5
THE EVERGREEN TERRACE BOWL IS HERE AGAIN
This week’s matchup is the second in a home-and-home with the Huskies, a team named after a size of Sears Toughskins pants I wore as a kid. In last year’s contest, as you may recall (or perhaps not), the Aztecs went to DeKalb and defeated NIU 42-28. A convincing score for a game that left many of us relieved when the clock hit 00:00.
While the “Evergreen Terrace Bowl” sounds like a challenge/party game in Washington and Colorado (word to January 2018 in California. Uh … don’t smoke the dope, kids.), it’s shorthand nationally* for the game between the alma maters of animated married couple Dan Castellaneta (NIU, 1979; voice of Homer Simpson) and Julie Kavner (SDSU, 1971; voice of Marge Simpson). After last year’s victory, San Diego State leads the all-time series 5-0.
Why should we be scared of them?
NIU’s coming off of a bye week, which followed a big 21-17 victory against Nebraska in Lincoln. They’re rested, they’re confident and they’re tough on defense. And there’s no way they’ve forgotten about last year’s game. Are you convinced yet? NIU is a tough, but beatable opponent. STADIUM is a fortress (in waiting), and this is a game San Diego State should win if it handles its business.
Do they have anyone worth watching?
Senior cornerback Shawun Lurry is one of the better cornerbacks in the nation. He was responsible for one of two pick-sixes that gave NIU a 14-0 jump on Nebraska two weeks ago. He finished last season with 3 picks, but led the nation in 2015 with 9.
Why should we hate them?
Nothing untoward occurred in last year’s contest, and I’m a big fan of free speech … so I’m going to lift what Jodes wrote in last year’s preview (though, we’ve obviously played them less than 45 years ago now):
This is a team that is rarely on our radar (I mean, the last time we played them was 45 years ago), so it’s hard to really hate something you don’t really think about. But I guess if you need a reason other than the fact that they are the opponent – and, therefore, the enemy this week – the school apparently has some backwards-ass free-speech-restricting policies that have gotten them in some hot water the last few years. So there’s that.
Do they have any famous alumni we can make fun of?
How about former Speaker of the House (R-IL) and serial pederast Dennis Hastert? Nah, that’s a little too heavy. Fuck that guy, though.
NIU alum Kurt Sutter reminds me a lot of Brady Hoke, in that they’re both very talented people, had a good thing going, and found a way to fuck the whole thing up. Sons of Anarchy was an entertaining (sometimes ENGAGING), albeit pulpy show that turned into some serious tryhard garbage. Did anybody watch the follow-up, Sons Of Anarchy: Medieval Edition? I forget the name of it, and I’m not going to look it up. Sometimes, you gotta stick with what works. For example, me going in on chain restaurateurs and not guys who are still objectively pretty decent at what they do.
Will we beat them?