In preparation for Arkansas’ next game, we spoke with Steve Nitz of the DeKalb Daily Chronicle and to get his thoughts on the Hogs’ upcoming opponent – Northern Illinois. The Huskies are currently 3-0 and have already defeated a Power 5 conference team with a 23-15 victory over Northwestern.

Drew Laing: Both Northern Illinois and Arkansas have similar playing styles in which they rely on a strong running game and offensive line. Which team do you think has the bigger advantage in these two areas?

Steve Nitz: Has to be Arkansas. NIU’s running game and offensive line have been successful, but they haven’t been playing on an SEC level. The Razorbacks have tremendous size/talent up front, and tailbacks Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams have been great this year.

Laing: NIU has four players with 140 rushing yards-plus on the season. Who’s the rusher that Arkansas fans should keep their eye on the most on Saturday?

Nitz: Senior Cameron Stingily. He was expected to miss at least the first four games, but surprisingly played at Northwestern in Week 2. He’s a big back with great downhill ability, and finished with over 100 yards in the Huskies’ win at UNLV last week.

Laing: Da’Ron Brown already has 19 receptions, 357 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Just how good is the senior wideout? How would he compare with some of the better receivers in the SEC?

Nitz: It’s really been a nice coming out party for Brown this year as he’s had great rhythm with quarterback Drew Hare. He’s shown the ability to get downfield and has made some real great catches. Probably not at the level of the SEC’s best, but he could very well be on the MAC’s first team.

Laing: How do you see NIU’s front-seven holding up against Arkansas’ run game? Especially after last week’s impressive performance against Texas Tech…

Nitz: I could see NIU holding its own for the first half. Eventually, I think the size and talent of the Razorbacks pays out.

Laing: How has sophomore quarterback Drew Hare transitioned into the starting role this season?

Nitz: Hare has been really impressive for the last six quarters after coming off the bench against Northwestern and leading NIU to an upset over the Wildcats. He’s been able to beat defenses with both his arms and legs, and hasn’t thrown a single pick this year. He’s not going to put up Jordan Lynch numbers, but he’ll give NIU a chance to win.

Laing: What’s your prediction for how Saturday’s game turns out?

Nitz: I see the Huskies being able to put up points and stick with Arkansas for a half or so. Eventually, I think the SEC size and speed gets the win. If NIU makes some breaks for itself, the Huskies could pull of an upset.

I’ll go with Arkansas 35, NIU 21.


As always, a huge thank to Steve Nitz for participating! You can follow him on Twitter: @HuskieWire