- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

Northern Illinois (11-2) vs. Marshall (12-1), 6 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Marshall by 11.

Series Record: Northern Illinois leads 4-3.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

A win would give Marshall bowl victories in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-02. Northern Illinois’ senior class has 46 victories, and with another win, the group will set a school record for victories by any class.

KEY MATCHUP

Northern Illinois’ offensive line and Marshall’s defensive front are talented, experienced groups. The Huskies’ offensive line of Tyler Loos, Tyler Pitt, Andrew Ness, Aidan Conlon and Ryan Brown has 166 career starts. The group has allowed only 11 sacks, and the Huskies rank 13th in the nation in rushing at 252.9 yards per game. Marshall’s defensive line, meanwhile, has 154 career games. The Thundering Herd rank 10th in tackles for loss, and 28th in sacks.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Northern Illinois: Quarterback Drew Hare, who became a starter in the third game of the season, has rushed for 850 yards in 145 carries, an average of 5.9 per carry. He also has completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,097 yards while throwing only two interceptions.

Marshall: Senior quarterback Rakeem Cato, a native of Miami, has thrown a touchdown pass in each of his last 45 games, a Football Bowl Subdivision record. Cato ranks eighth in the nation with 3,622 yards passing, and he has thrown for 37 touchdowns.

FACTS & FIGURES

Marshall running back Devon Johnson ranks sixth in the nation with 1,636 yards rushing. … Northern Illinois and Oregon are the only teams with at least 11 wins in each of the past five seasons. The Huskies rank fourth with 57 victories since 2010. … Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois is 6-0 in games decided by 10 points or less. … Huskies running back Cameron Stingily has 11 touchdowns in the past seven games. … Marshall’s only loss was to Western Kentucky, 67-66, in overtime. … With its Conference USA title, Marshall is the first FBS team to win championship games in multiple conferences. The Thundering Herd won MAC Championship titles in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002.

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