Northern Illinois University enters the 2021 season after failing to win a game in 2020. Youth and the inability to keep things going were the biggest issue for NIU throughout the year. Michigan State transfer Rocky Lombardi is expected to take over the QB position to light a fire in the offense. Tyrice Richie led the team in receiving a year ago with nearly 600 yards and 4 touchdowns and will be the main tiger for Richie.
The biggest highlight coming into the 2021 season for a struggling defense from a year ago is the fact that 10 of the 11 starters are back this year. NIU will lean on a revitalized secondary led by corner back Jordan Gandy and linebacker Kyle Pugh who was an ALL-Mac performer a year ago. NIU has the pieces but putting it all together will be a job that stretches throughout the year.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets look to improve in 2021 off a 3-7 season a year ago. Georgia Tech still has alot of work to do offensively as the team only averaged 24 points a game last year. Jim Sims will again be at the helm as the QB after a 500 yard 6 touchdown season in 2020.Malachi Carter is the best returning starter at receiver for Tech and will see an abundance of looks early on in the year.
Georgia Tech will lean on Jordan Domineck and Antonneous Clayton to lead the defense from the middle as both found success in 2020 disrupting both the run and passing game of opponents. The defensive back unit could be the deepest group Georgia Tech has and will lead the defense as Juanyeh Thomas will start at safety as possibly the best player on the field for Tech regardless of position.