The first 2 games of the 2009 had NSU looking pretty good. After a respectable 12 point loss to Arkansas Tech, they gave Tarleton State a big scare, only losing 6-0. However, the next week Midwestern would throttle them 52-3 and the wheels came off on the Riverhawk season. The NSU offense went on to score an average of 20.1 points and 279 yards per game, good enough for 11th place in both categories in the LSC. But their biggest problem was their defense. They gave up 33.9 points (11th) and 405.8 yards (10th) per game. Looking closer at those numbers, the Riverhawk defense gave up an astounding 44.2 points per game in their losses after that Tarleton game.
Out with the old
The Riverhawk defense will lose it's leading tackler in ILB Terrence Gaston (2nd LSC North, 98 tackles, 7 TFL, 1 INT) and also a big run stuffer at DT TJ Raymond (1st LSC North, 54 tackles, 8 TFL, 3 sacks). Their special teams will take a hit as well, losing the best punter and kicker in the LSC North, P Joe Kok (1st LSC North) and K Jared Homer (1st LSC North).
The only returning 1st team LSC North player is FB John Stelly, who is more of a blocking back and only touched the ball 5 times last season. 2009 Leading receiver Trey McVey (2nd LSC North, 29 catches for 343 yds, 6 TD's) is back, as well as NSU's 3rd leading receiver WR Ben Randle (2nd LSC North, 19 catches for 263 yds, 4 TD's). Up and coming OT Michael Yoder (2nd LSC North, LSC North Freshman of the Year) is back to anchor the Riverhawk offensive line. University of Oklahoma transfer DT Billy Blackard (HM LSC North, 28 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks) is back to provide pressure up front. On the outside, DE LaQuantum McDonald (HM LSC North, 29 tackles, 8 TFL, 3.5 sacks) and OLB Don Dangerfield (HM LSC North, 83 tackles, 9 TFL, 2 sacks) will return. S Nick Dobler (HM LSC North, 74 tackles, 2 TFL, 3 INT) is back to provide help in the secondary.
In with the new
Look for ILB Chris Myers of Kilgore JC and ILB Gus Jones to make impacts at linebacker. Jones Redshirted last season at University of Oklahoma. Was a 3 star Rivals.com out of high school, also had offers from Missouri, North Carolina, Wyoming and Texas Tech.
All Conference Candidates
FB John Stelly
WR Trey McVey
WR Ben Randle
OT Michael Yoder
All American Candidates
Oct 16 @ Southwestern Oklahoma - After a brutal 6 games to begin their schedule, the Riverhawks may already be dead by this point. A win here would might save the season.
Oct 30 @ East Central - Another possible win for NSU, but it's yet another away game.
Best Case Scenario 2-9
Northeastern has an INSANELY tough schedule. The only 2 games they would seem to have much of a chance to win (Southwestern and East Central) are both away games. Their first 6 games are: @ Tarleton, ACU at home, @ D1 FCS North Dakota, @ Southeastern Oklahoma, West Texas A&M at home and Texas A&M-Commerce at home. Then later on, they get to close their season out @ Midwestern. Wow.
Worst Case Scenario 0-11
As mentioned above, this schedule is unbelievably difficult for Northeastern. Their 2 best chances at wins (ECU and SWOSU) are both away games. The scenario of NSU not winning either of those and putting up a goose egg for 2010 is an unfortunate possibility.