Nine straight victories. A perfect record in the Mid-American Conference. The outright MAC West Division title. A Top 25 national ranking in two major college football polls. Ten consecutive weeks with MAC West Player of the Week honors.
The NIU Huskies are barking loudly and proudly on their way to Detroit’s Ford Field for the 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, for the Marathon Mid-American Conference Championship game against the MAC East Champion Miami (Ohio) RedHawks (8-4; 7-1 MAC East).
IMPORTANT: Fans should wear black to the game and “Black Out” Miami!
Students can catch a bus to Detroit for $20; the package includes one game ticket and bus transportation to and from Ford Field. The bus leaves at 9 a.m. Friday and returns immediately following the conclusion of the game. Students must bring their OneCardID to the Convocation Center Box Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to buy tickets.
Fans who want to catch broadcasts of the game can tune their television to ESPN2 or dial the radios to the Huskies’ flagship station, 1360 AM WLBK, and in Chicago on The Score 670 AM as well as on WTJK ESPN 1380 AM in Janesville, Wis., which covers the Rockford market.
“The big thing is I am proud the team – they have gone to Ball State and Eastern Michigan in some tough atmospheres and they just like playing football,” NIU head coach Jerry Kill said. “It doesn’t seem to matter what else is going on with weather or crowd. We’ve got 10 wins, and we did it with only five home games, and no one else in the country can say that.”
The Huskies completed a 10-2 regular season and finished 8-0 in conference play, completing its first undefeated MAC season in school history.
Last Saturday was a record-setting day for the Huskies as NIU rushed for season highs in rushing yards with 544 and touchdowns with eight, including TD runs of 71, 81, 61, 61 and 74 yards. The Huskies’ rushing total ranks second all-time in school history and is the highest in the NCAA Division I FBS ranks this year. NIU amassed a season-high 642 yards of total offense which ties for fourth all-time in NIU history and its 10 touchdowns ties the modern record for touchdowns scored in a game.
On Sunday, NIU entered the two major national college football polls – the USA Today Coaches Poll and the Associated Press Poll – at No. 23 and No. 24, respectively.
Northern Illinois garnered 130 votes in the Coaches’ Poll to come in at No. 23, behind No. 21 Utah (291 points) and No. 22 Mississippi State (223) and ahead of No. 24 West Virginia (110) and No. 25 UCF (62). In the Associated Press rankings, NIU earned 130 points to take the No. 24 ranking, ahead of No. 25 Hawai’i (43 points) and just behind No. 23 West Virginia (147).
“It’s good for our school and good for our football program, and this Friday we’ll see if we’re worthy of it,” Kill said. “We’ve done a nice job, so far, but those are the key words – so far.”
Tickets for the Marathon MAC Championship game are $20 each (free for NIU students) and can be purchased online through the link at www.NIUHuskies.com or by calling the NIU Athletics Ticket Office at (815) 752-6800.