DeKALB – In falling to Central Michigan last week, the NIU football team picked up its seventh loss and was eliminated from bowl contention.
There may be more younger faces than usual playing for the Huskies when they visit Western Michigan on Wednesday, but these three players still are set up for impact games against the Broncos.
Tristen Tewes, sophomore tight end
With true freshman quarterback Nevan Creamascoli likely to see a lot of playing time Wednesday and be the main passing quarterback, Tewes can expect another high-target game. Creamscoli looked to him six times, and he made three catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Tewes was open on a lot of those targets, getting 41 yards after the catch Wednesday in only his fourth game of the year.
J.J. Lippe, sophomore right tackle
Speaking of versatility, Lippe brings it to the NIU line. He’s played every position but right guard this year – and even has played at tight end.
Wherever he was playing, the NIU run game was slow to get rolling last week, and that led to Cremascoli coming in and seeing more playing time than Justin Lynch. Although Harrison Waylee did end up cracking 100 yards, a more consistent rushing attack will be needed.
And should Cremascoli need to pass a lot, the Broncos are third in the league in sacks, getting to the other team’s quarterback 25 times this season, almost three times per game. But the Huskies are second in the league in preventing sacks, allowing only nine.
Jaiden Credle, freshman running back
With Antario Brown missing the second half last week and Mason Blakemore not playing for the third time in the past five games, Credle might see his usage skyrocket.
The amount he plays – or doesn’t – also will give a big insight into how head coach Thomas Hammock and his staff view redshirts. Credle already has played in four games this season, the maximum allowed to still maintain redshirt status. Playing him at all over the next three games basically takes away a year of eligibility for him.
Play him and try to win? Save him and build for the future? It’s an interesting call, one that in this day and age is complicated by the prevalence of the transfer portal. It will be interesting to see what the Huskies decide to do, especially if they are depleted at running back as they are at so many other positions.
We went with: Jordan White, Devin Lafayette and Mason Blakemore
What they did: Blakemore did not play. White had six tackles and an interception. Lafayette had five tackles.