D2football.com: Tony Nicolette’s Weekly Column

Northern Michigan (1-5, 1-5) at Hillsdale (3-3, 4-3)

Despite having lost two of three, the Chargers still have an outside shot at the playoffs. They’ll need a lot of help, but even if the help arrives it won’t do them any good if they don’t win the rest of their games. The struggling Wildcats should prove to be a welcome sight.

Northern Keys:
– Offensive Balance – Yes, Wayne State’s defense is good – but so is Hillsdale’s. 68 yards passing again this week doesn’t have a much better chance of cutting it against the Chargers either.
– Beware the Explosion – Hillsdale’s offense has moved the ball well over the past month, but hasn’t really scored a lot of points. Don’t let this be the game where they put it all together and post a big number.

Hillsdale Keys:
– Snap out of it – Yes, the Chargers have dropped a couple of late – but to good teams and despite offensive outputs that weren’t horrible. Now is when they need to get things figured out and dialed in and get a complete effort from the offense, defense, and special teams. They play a pair of clubs the next two weeks (Wayne and Ferris) that presently sit at 5-2, so they need to get things clicking now.
– Big Day for Troy and the Offense – As I mentioned above, I almost feel like Hillsdale is on the verge of a break-out game. Troy Weatherhead really has played decent of late, and the weak Wildcat defense may be just what he needs to really let loose.

Prediction: I’m rolling with The Dale breaking out of their funk in this one. Not sure what makes me say that, but it’s a hunch I can’t ignore. Add in the fact that NMU might be travel-weary with their second straight trip Down-State, and I think the situation is ripe for a big day for the Chargers. Hillsdale 49, Northern Michigan 14.

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