The NIU Huskies and Northwestern Wildcats will meet on the football field Sept. 6, 2014, for the first time since 2005 when the teams play at Ryan Field, officials from both universities announced Tuesday.
The contest between the state’s most successful Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs this century will be the eighth all-time between the teams, with every game played in Evanston. Northwestern has won six of the seven previous games, while the 1987 game resulted in a 16-16 tie.
Sean Frazier, NIU associate vice president and director of Athletics, said the Northwestern game is the first step in his efforts to improve the Huskies’ future football schedules.
“I am extremely excited to add Northwestern, a high-quality opponent, to our 2014 football non-conference schedule,” Frazier said.
“Declining attendance at college football games is a national trend and scheduling has been identified as a prime factor in the decline. I am continually evaluating our future football schedules, and the addition of this game is just the first announcement regarding concerted efforts to improve our football schedule, connect with our alumni base in the Chicago region, increase exposure for NIU and promote the NIU Huskies as a national brand.”
Anticipating great demand by Northern Illinois University fans and alumni for the 2014 game at Northwestern, NIU is offering fans a chance to “Commit to NIU” and get a jump on claiming tickets to that game by renewing or purchasing new season tickets for 2014 during an Early Signing Period. Anyone who purchases (orders) season tickets during the designated Early Signing Period will have the right to request game tickets to the NIU-Northwestern game.
The Early Signing Period will run from early 2014 when season ticket renewals are mailed to April 30, 2014. All tickets will be distributed using the HASF priority points system, and NIU Athletics reserves the right to limit ticket amounts per account if demand exceeds ticket availability. After the April 30 deadline, tickets to the Huskies’ game at Northwestern will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
NIU head coach Rod Carey said college football fans throughout the state can look forward to the match-up.
“(I am) really excited about the game, as I know our fans will be,” Carey said. “Thanks to (Northwestern Director of Athletics) Jim Phillips, (NU) Coach (Pat) Fitzgerald and Sean Frazier for making this happen. It’s a great opportunity for fans in Chicago to see two really fine football programs play.”
In the last NIU-Northwestern game on Sept. 10, 2005, NIU was a two-point conversion away from claiming its first series win when the Huskies scored with six seconds on the clock to pull within one, 38-37, of the Wildcats.
When quarterback Phil Horvath’s pass fell incomplete on the conversion attempt, Northwestern escaped with the victory in a game that featured 1,033 combined yards of total offense, led by dueling backs Garrett Wolfe of the Huskies and Tyrell Sutton of Northwestern. Wolfe carried the ball 34 times for 245 yards and three touchdowns while Sutton totaled 214 yards on 30 carries with four scores.
For more information on NIU football and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.