As 2013 draws to a close, NIU Today offers a look back at 25 of the top stories from the year.
NIU’s football team, guided by first-year head coach Rod Carey and Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch, tore through the 2013 football season without a loss.
By the time the Huskies began Mid-American Conference play, they had defeated two Big Ten teams – and, yes, that’s equal to the number of Big Ten wins achieved by Illinois, Northwestern and Purdue combined.
When the regular season ended, fans had plenty to celebrate in their 12-0 team.
Seven road wins. A 25-game MAC winning streak. A 26-game Huskie Stadium winning streak. A BCS ranking of 14.
Meanwhile, Lynch set a NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback and, one month later, broke it. He not only entered the national Heisman conversation but ascended to No. 2 in the predictions of many sportswriters. On Monday, Dec. 9, Lynch received his invitation to New York City. On Saturday, Dec. 14, the Huskie QB took third place – the best finish by a Mid-American Conference player.
All that stood between Carey’s crew and a second consecutive BCS bowl appearance was the MAC championship. Unfortunately, the Huskies fell 47-27 to Bowling Green.
Redemption awaits tonight at the Poinsettia Bowl: NIU (12-1), ranked No. 23 (USA Today)/No. 24 (Associated Press), will take on Utah State (8-5) of the Mountain West Conference at 8:30 p.m. CT at Qualcomm Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.