College football fans are in for a treat when Ball State and No. 15-ranked Northern Illinois hit the field on Wednesday night. The two MAC rivals have just one loss between them, and both are undefeated in the conference, making this an absolutely critical game for both teams.
High-powered offenses are the hallmark for both clubs.
Northern Illinois features a devastating rushing attack and averages 44.2 points per game, which is the eighth-highest total of any team in the nation.
Ball State isn't far behind, averaging 39.9 points per game, which ranks No. 15 in the country. Unlike the Huskies, the Cardinals trot out an explosive passing attack, which means fans will be able to enjoy two completely different types of offensive approaches.
With that in mind, here's a look at the top offensive playmakers for both teams.
Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois
Jordan Lynch is one of the most underrated college football players in America right now.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com thinks Lynch should be in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy this year, and it's easy to agree with him after you break down the numbers:
A dual-threat quarterback with exceptional talent running the ball, the senior out of Chicago has totaled 3,021 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Better still, he's only thrown five interceptions, and his fine play is a huge reason why the Huskies are undefeated heading into this contest.
Keith Wenning, QB, Ball State
Lynch isn't the only hot quarterback in this game, and he's not the only one who's garnering some support as a potential Heisman Trophy contender.
ESPN's Jason Whitlock thinks Wenning should be among the top contenders:
Where is Keith Wenning? RT @CollegeGameDay: ESPN Heisman Experts’ Poll: 1. Mariota 2. Winston 3. Manziel 4. Petty 5. McCarron 6. Carey— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) November 5, 2013
His 3,164 passing yards and 27 touchdowns both rank fourth nationally, behind Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr and Sean Mannion.
Ball State runs the ball a fair amount, but the bulk of the production stems from Wenning's strong arm. He spreads the ball around liberally amongst his receivers and running backs, as 13 different players have caught passes this year, but he has a definite favorite whom we'll explore in a moment.
Da'Ron Brown, WR, Northern Illinois
The Huskies don't throw the ball nearly as much as the Cardinals. However, when Northern Illinois makes a big play down field in the passing game, more often than not it's Da'Ron Brown catching those passes.
He's only caught 33 passes this year, but Brown averages 14.5 yards per reception, and he's caught seven touchdown passes, which is four more than any other player on the team.
The junior receiver is having the finest season of his college career, and there's a good chance he'll make a game-breaking play at some point tonight against the Cardinals.
Willie Snead, WR, Ball State
Given the numbers Wenning has put up this year in the passing game, it's no surprise that one of his receivers is amongst the best in the nation.
As noted by Steve Goldberg of MizzouNetwork.com, Snead ranks No. 3 in the nation, with 74 catches for 1,175 yards and 12 touchdown receptions:
Willie Snead, Ball State's top wide receiver, ranks 3rd in the FBS with 1,175 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 74 catches.— Steve Goldberg (@SG_Mizzou15) November 13, 2013
Though not as physically imposing as many of the top receivers around the country, at 5'11" and 193 pounds, Snead features blazing speed and phenomenal hands.
He's Wenning's go-to receiver in crunch time, and he'll be a huge component to Ball State's offensive attack on Wednesday against the Huskies.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78