The Northern Illinois football team will return to its “second home” at Soldier Field in Chicago in 2016 when the Huskies play host to the Nebraska Cornhuskers at the historic Chicago stadium in the first of three games between the teams, NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher announced Monday.
The Huskies and Cornhuskers will play at Soldier Field on Sept. 24, 2016, and NIU will travel to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. for games on Sept. 2, 2017 and Sept. 14, 2019.
“Ever since the Iowa game this past September, I’ve been asked about the next Huskie home game at Soldier Field,” Compher said. “I am very pleased to announce this 2016 game in Chicago with Nebraska, one of the most storied programs in college football. This series would not have come together without the efforts of [Nebraska Director of Athletics] Tom Osborne so I especially want to thank him for his willingness to work with us to schedule these three games.”
Northern Illinois has played three home games at Soldier Field over the past six seasons, including the 2012 season opener versus Iowa won by the Hawkeyes, 18-17, in front of a crowd of 52,117. The Huskies and Hawkeyes sold out the 61,500-seat stadium in 2007, while NIU and Wisconsin drew 41,068 fans to the lakefront site on Sept. 17, 2011.
The 2016 contest will mark the third game all-time between Northern Illinois and Nebraska, and the first since Sept. 8, 1990 when NIU lost to the No. 7-ranked Cornhuskers 60-14 at Memorial Stadium. The Huskies also lost to No. 4 Nebraska in Lincoln on Sept. 9, 1989 by the score of 48-17.
“The benefits of playing at Soldier Field cannot be overstated,” Compher said. “It’s a beautiful NFL venue that allows us to showcase our team and program to recruits, and to connect with our alumni base in the city. We are so grateful to be able to continue this partnership with the city of Chicago, the Park District and Tim LeFevour and his SMG team.”
The 2012 Huskies are in the midst of preparations for the Discover Orange Bowl, where Northern Illinois (12-1) will make history as the first Mid-American Conference team to play in a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl game when NIU takes on ACC Champion Florida State (11-2) at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. on Jan. 1. Tickets for the game are on sale now through the NIU Athletics Ticket Office in the Convocation Center, online at www.NIUHuskies.com or by calling Northern Illinois at (815) 752-6800.
Fans unable to make the trip to Miami can support the Northern Illinois football team by purchasing a $99 ticket which will then be donated to The Veteran Tickets Foundation or to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami to send a veteran and family, or a child and his or her mentor, to the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl Game. To donate a ticket, call the NIU Athletics Ticket Office at (815) 752-6800.
For complete information and coverage before and during the Huskies’ trip to Miami, go to Discover Orange Bowl Central on www.NIUHuskies.com.