Northern Illinois Season Predictions: Wins, Losses, Marquee Games, and More for Every Huskies Game in 2023

Are the Huskies set for a bounce back campaign in 2023? Our Northern Illinois season predictions forecast the upcoming season for Thomas Hammock's team.

After losing starting quarterback Rocky Lombardi for most of the season, Northern Illinois struggled to a 3-9 record a year ago. Lombardi is back, and so is a host of talent on both sides of the ball, with the promise of a bounce back campaign. Can the Huskies live up to that promise? Our Northern Illinois season predictions hold the answers.

Northern Illinois Season Predictions: Predicting the Game-By-Game Results

Using groupthink, College Football Network analysts have painstakingly gone through every game for every team in the MAC and across the country.

Find Every MAC Season Prediction per team: Ball State | Central Michigan | Eastern Michigan | Northern Illinois | Toledo | Western Michigan | Akron | Bowling Green | Buffalo | Kent State | Miami (OH) | Ohio

Picking these games straight up with a projected score using the rosters as up-to-date as the last spring practice, the Northern Illinois season predictions suggest a bounce back of sorts is in store for the 2023 season. 

Week 1 – Northern Illinois @ Boston College: Loss, 17-24

Two teams who had disappointing 2022 campaigns get the opportunity to kick-start their 2023 season with a win. Although Northern Illinois plays their ACC opponent hard in this season opener on Chestnut Hill, improvements on the Boston College offensive line allow young QB Emmett Morehead to direct the Eagles to their fourth consecutive win over the Huskies.

Week 2 – Northern Illinois vs. Southern Illinois: Win, 32-22

The Southern Illinois Salukis beat the Huskies the last time these two teams met in 2007 and showed last fall that they can be a tough opponent for an FBS team. However, Northern Illinois has historically had the better of these matchups, and with seven returning defensive starters, they can limit the Saluki offense.

MORE: MAC QB Rankings 2023

Week 3 – Northern Illinois @ Nebraska: Loss, 18-32

Two Power Five opponents on your out-of-conference schedule are always challenging, especially when one of them is likely still in the early stages of a honeymoon period under a new, high-profile head coach. Matt Rhule’s Nebraska team — led by former Georgia Tech QB Jeff Sims and an infusion of receiving talent — will likely prove too strong for the Huskies in Lincoln.

Week 4 – Northern Illinois vs. Tulsa: Loss, 24-25

Last season was the first edition of this matchup, with Tulsa coming out on top in a tight game. The rematch in DeKalb is also likely to be closely fought, so close that our analysts were split on the outcome. However, Braylon Braxton’s dual-threat capability at quarterback could ultimately prove to be the difference-maker in an even closer contest than one year ago.

Week 5 – Northern Illinois @ Toledo: Loss, 25-30

Although the return of seven starting defensive players and positive noises about development on that side of the ball emanating out of spring camp should power a Northern Illinois resurgence this fall, there aren’t many MAC defenses that will tame Toledo, and even fewer offenses that can go toe-to-toe with the Rockets. The Huskies start MAC play with a road defeat.

Week 6 – Northern Illinois @ Akron: Win, 25-22

Jeff Undercuffler unbuttoned the Northern Illinois defense last fall, with Akron zipping up the body bag on the Huskies’ 2022 campaign with an embarrassingly heavy Northern Illinois defeat. Revenge gets served in Week 6 as a more competitive defensive unit limits Akron to half the number of points from that season-ending shocker.

Week 7 – Northern Illinois vs. Ohio: Loss, 26-30

Northern Illinois allowed the most passing touchdowns in the MAC last fall. Even with a presumed improvement in the secondary, their date with the best quarterback in the conference in Week 7 will likely be a test too far for the Huskies.

MORE: Ohio Bobcats Coaching Staff 2023

Ohio has a date with MAC Championship Game destiny, and Northern Illinois is another team that fails to halt their progress.

Week 8 – Northern Illinois vs. Eastern Michigan: Win, 22-13

Two of the MAC’s top running backs — Antario Brown and Samson Evans — face off in an intriguing MAC West matchup. Northern Illinois has won the last two matchups between the two, and with a slightly better run defense than their divisional rivals, the Huskies send the Eagles back to Ypsilanti with their feathers ruffled.

Week 10 – Northern Illinois @ Central Michigan: Win, 24-23

Although the Chippewas won the corresponding fixture last fall, Northern Illinois holds all the advantages at playmaking positions — headlined by their dynamic offensive duo of Brown and Trayvon Rudolph. The win gives the Huskies their third MAC win of the season, surpassing last season with three games to spare.

Week 11 – Northern Illinois vs. Ball State: Win, 27-24

Departures have ravaged Ball State — both via the transfer portal and the NFL Draft — and Northern Illinois takes advantage in a close win. With the Cardinals’ two best players in the secondary now in NFL training camps, this game offers the Huskies the opportunity to showcase the offensive threat that has characterized the team under Thomas Hammock.

Week 12 – Northern Illinois vs. Western Michigan: Win, 25-22

Western Michigan was one of just two MAC scalps that the Huskies got to hang on their wall last fall, and with low expectations for the Broncos in our season predictions, Northern Illinois comes away with another three-point win over their MAC West rivals. A sixth win of the season returns the Huskies to bowl eligibility.

Week 13 – Northern Illinois @ Kent State: Win, 22-19

Northern Illinois wraps up their 2023 college football campaign with a 22-19 win on the road at Kent State. The Golden Flashes lost their star quarterback and running back to the transfer portal, and while there’s talent on the roster, the Huskies have enough firepower to emerge victorious. A 7-5 season is the second-best of Hammock’s tenure as head coach.