Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Friday, September 07, 2007 Tony Nicolette GLIAC Column

Hillsdale (1-0, 1-0) at Northern Michigan (0-1, 0-1)

I actually find this game to be rather intriguing. By most accounts, Northern actually played rather well in Indianapolis last weekend. While Hillsdale did win big, doing so against Gannon doesn't exactly make them a juggernaut. This is also a battle of two QB's who have had very good GLIAC careers and are throwing to very good WR's. While Northern's athletes on offense might be a bit better, Hillsdale's defense is decidedly stronger than Northern's.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Flex the muscle on defense. If they can stuff the run and make the Wildcats play from behind, then advantage Hillsdale - even against Buddy Rivera.
- Vinnie Panizzi appears to be the answer for the Chargers at RB. They need to keep him rolling so the Wildcat defense is keying on Mark Nicolet and his band of WR's.
- No letdown. Last week was a nice start, but the focus still needs to be there - especially in the unique environment provided by the "Yooperdome".

Northern Keys:
- Get Buddy revving early. Northern almost never plays with a lead, and seems to rely on Rivera heroics late in order to win. Letting Buddy do his thing and dictate tempo to the Chargers could really give the visitors problems.
- Find some kind of running game. Taking some pressure off of Rivera might help him really play great.
- Get some stops on "D". Despite giving up a fair amount of yardage, the Wildcats actually did a fair job of keeping UINDY of out of the endzone last week. A similar effort will definitely give them a chance to win.

Prediction: I can truly see this game going either way. Both teams appear to be able to move the ball rather well, and NMU's defense looked a bit more capable than I expected in holding UINDY to only 24 points last week. I think Hillsdale is just a bit better in most areas, wins this one on the road. Hillsdale 33, NMU 21.

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