Northern Illinois (3-0) isn’t your average mid-major.

This MAC squad is coming off a 2013 season where they went 12-2 and a 2012 season where they reached the Orange Bowl. However, ultra dual-threat quarterback Jordan Lynch is no longer there, so who will the Huskies lean on for a possible upset against the Arkansas Razorbacks?

Here are the five NIU players every Arkansas fan should know before the two teams kickoff Saturday night.

  1. QB Drew Hare – Ever since coming off the bench against Northwestern in Week 2 and leading the Huskies to a 23-15 upset victory on the road, Drew Hare has been the starting quarterback. He’s transitioned well into the role, throwing for 494 yards and six touchdowns. Perhaps what’s even more impressive is Hare’s zero turnovers as a starter. In addition, Hare is a capable dual-threat quarterback that must be taken seriously by the defense. If the Hogs focus too much on stopping him in the passing game, Hare can beat defenses with his legs.
  2. RB Cameron Stingily – The Huskies have a handful of backs who can carry the rock, but it’s Cameron Stingily the Hogs will need to focus on the most come Saturday. The senior running back is an absolute load at 6-foot-1, 235-pounds. Initially, he was expected to miss the early part of the season due to injury, but a surprise return against Northwestern helped spark NIU’s upset bid. He currently averages 6.4 yards per carry and should get the football several times within NIU’s physical running game.
  3. WR Da’Ron Brown – When it comes to NIU’s receiving game, look no further than Da’Ron Brown. The senior from Chicago, Ill. has been the main recipient of any passes from NIU quarterbacks this season. His 19 receptions, 357 receiving yards and four touchdowns are heads and shoulders above any other wide receiver on the roster. No one else even has double-digit receptions or 100 receiving yards on the season. As the resident deep threat, you can bet they’ll look for Brown down the field for some explosive plays to stretch the Hogs’ secondary.
  4. LB Jamaal Bass – In NIU’s predominant 3-4 defense, it’s redshirt senior Jamaal Bass that anchors an experienced group of linebackers. Bass racked up 88 tackles last season, including six tackles for loss and he also forced two fumbles. He’s been recovering from a leg injury that’s kept him out of the early season action, but based off his progression this week in practice, NIU expects him to be back on Saturday. He’ll be looked upon to stop the Arkansas running game.
  5. RB Akeem Daniels – In addition to Stingily, NIU also has running back Akeem Daniels, who was the team’s primary back for their Orange Bowl run in 2012. An injury kept him out of last season, but Daniels is back now and leads the team with 201 rushing yards in the first three games. He only got one carry against UNLV last week, but head coach Rod Carey said this week that Daniels will get “every opportunity to play.”