Paul Stone Comp College Football Play

San Diego State -9.5 Over Northern Illinois – Although record-setting runner Donnel Pumphrey has taken his wares to the NFL, the San Diego State Aztecs do not seem to have missed a beat. The Aztecs are a perfect 4-0; ranked 19th in the nation; and have already defeated a pair of Pac 12 schools (Stanford and Arizona State) in the season’s first month. Tough defense and a strong running game have been San Diego State’s calling cards under Rocky Long as all-purpose guy Rashaad Penny, a threat as a runner, receiver and returner, has softened Pumphrey’s loss by rushing for 716 yards thus far.

Top 20 Upstart San Diego State gets a visit from Northern Illinois This Week

Top 20 Upstart San Diego State gets a visit from Northern Illinois This Week

In its last outing two weeks ago,  Northern Illinois, a two touchdown underdog, shocked Nebraska, 21-17, in Lincoln, Neb., thanks in large part to a pair of interception returns (87 and 25 yards) for touchdowns in the first quarter. The Huskies, who will start backup quarterback Daniel Santacaterina for the third straight game Saturday against the Aztecs, however, only mustered 253 total yards offense against Nebraska.

Under the direction of fifth-year coach Rod Carey, Northern Illinois has been on a steady decline, following an 11-win season in 2014 with eight victories one year later. The Huskies went 5-7 last season, missing a bowl for the first time since 2007. 

San Diego State pounded Northern Illinois for 278 rushing yards last year in a 42-28 road victory and look for Penny and company to do more of the same in front of the home fans. Take the Aztecs and lay the 9.5 points.

Paul Stone has over two decades of experience as a bettor and handicapper. He is a winner of multiple Las Vegas handicapping contests and his work has appeared in various media outlets including the Las Vegas-Review Journal and ESPN Insider. Follow Paul on Twitter@paulstonesports or e-mail him at

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