Northern Illinois’ 2012 football team made a little more history Tuesday when the Huskies were ranked in the final Associated Press and USA Today Top 25 polls for the first time.
The Huskies finished the season ranked 22nd by the writers who vote in the AP poll, and came in at No. 24 in the coaches’ final rankings.
NIU (12-2) earned 227 points in the writer’s poll to claim the No. 22 spot between No. 21 San Jose State and No. 23 Vanderbilt. In the USA Today rankings, the Huskies collected 156 points and checked in between No. 23 Nebraska and No. 25 Tulsa.
Head coach Rod Carey said it is only fitting that the careers of the 2012 seniors ends with a final history-making accomplishment.
“Being ranked in the final polls is another addition to the legacy that our seniors and this 2012 team have created at NIU, another ‘first’ they have accomplished among many,” Carey said. “It’s special and gratifying for our entire program, but I’m especially happy for the senior class because of how they represented NIU and how dedicated they have been to this football program.”
Northern Illinois has finished just outside the USA Today Top 25 in each of the last two seasons as the Huskies were 26th in the final coaches’ poll in 2010 and 2011. NIU was ranked 28th in the AP final poll a year ago and was 29th in 2010. NIU is the first Mid-American Conference team to finish the season ranked in the Top 25 since Central Michigan (23 AP/24 USA Today) in 2009.
The final poll rankings were a fitting finish to Northern Illinois’ finest season as a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) program.
NIU set school records for wins (12) and winning streak (12) during the season, won its second consecutive Mid-American Conference Championship and became the first MAC team to earn a spot in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) by finishing 15th in the Dec. 2 BCS Rankings. Northern Illinois played ACC Champion Florida State, a preseason pick to win the national title by many, to a 17-10 game through three quarters in the Discover Orange Bowl before falling, 31-10.
Northern Illinois’ 2012 senior class won a school-record 41 games in four seasons as the Huskies won 11-or-more games in each of the last three seasons. The Huskies’ appearance in the Orange Bowl marked the fifth straight bowl trip for NIU and Northern Illinois has played in the last three MAC title games.
NIU returns eight starters on offense and four on defense in 2013, including All-American Jordan Lynch at quarterback. Lynch set three NCAA records in his first season leading the Huskie offense and became the first quarterback in FBS history to pass for 3,000 and rush for more than 1,500 in a season.
He finished with 4,953 yards of total offense with 1,815 rushing and 3,138 passing yards while throwing for 25 touchdowns and rushing for 19.
For more information on NIU football and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.