RB Spann will be go-to guy for NIU

Northern Illinois running back Chad Spann will carry the rushing load in Saturday’s International Bowl against South Florida.

The DeKalb County Daily Chronicle reported that NIU coach Jerry Kill announced today that Me'co Brown, who has struggled with injuries during the latter half of the season, didn’t make the trip to Toronto. Brown has been recovering from knee and shoulder injuries and also had a family issue. Kill told the Daily Chronicle that Brown wouldn’t have played had he made the trip anyway.

Spann leads a NIU rushing offense that ranks 17th in the country with 202.42 yards per game. Spann has 159 carries for 945 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Spann hurt his shoulder against Ball State on Nov. 12 and has gained just 115 yards on 28 carries in his last two games. But with a few weeks to get healthy, Spann should be as effective as he was earlier in the year.

With Brown out, NIU doesn’t have a true backup. Quarterback Chandler Harnish likely will be the only other NIU rushing threat in the game.