Southern Illinois (0-2) at Northwestern (1-1), Saturday, noon ET (Big Ten Network)
Line: No line from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Northwestern leads 1-0
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Northwestern lost to Duke last week after opening with a win over Nebraska in Ireland. The Wildcats will be in bounce-back mode. With more than 1,000 yards, the Wildcats have had no trouble moving the ball. But stopping the other team has been an issue. They gave up 461 yards to Duke after allowing 465 to Nebraska. Northwestern ranks 13th in total defense in the 14-team Big Ten. Southern Illinois is coming off back-to-back Championship Subdivision playoff appearances. The Salukis got blown out at FCS Incarnate Word before losing by three to Southeast Missouri State last week.
QB Ryan Hilinski vs. CB PJ Jules. Hilinski threw for a career-high 435 yards with two touchdowns last season, though his accuracy wasn’t great. He was 36 of 60 with an interception. Jules leads the Salukis with two pass breakups.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Southern Illinois: RB Javon Williams, Jr. Williams is the FCS active leader with 34 career rushing touchdowns. The all-time record is 84 by Georgia Southern’s Adrian Peterson (1998-2001) and Towson’s Terrance West (2011-13).
Northwestern: RB Evan Hull. One of three returning Big Ten running backs who rushed for at least 1,000 yards last year, Hull leads the nation in all-purpose yards at 235 per game. Last week, he became the first Power Five running back this century with at least 14 receptions and 200 yards in a game. Hull caught 14 passes for a career-best 213 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 65 yards and a score.
FACTS & FIGURES
Southern Illinois is 1-7 against Big Ten teams, the win coming in 2006 at Indiana. Coach Nick Hill was the Salukis’ quarterback. … Southern Illinois’ most recent game against the Big Ten was a 48-47 loss to Indiana in 2015, when a 2-point conversion attempt with 20 seconds left failed. … Northwestern beat Southern Illinois 33-7 in 2008 at Ryan Field. … Northwestern has totaled more than 500 yards in both games and has 1,039 on the season. … The Wildcats rank third in the Big Ten and 15th in the nation at 519.5 yards per game. … Hilinski is averaging a Big Ten-best 374.5 yards passing.
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