AKRON, Ohio – When Huskies head coach Dave Doeren was answering questions following Northern Illinois' 37-7 win at Akron Saturday, he hadn't told his senior class about the milestone they just passed.
Saturday's victory was the 36th win for NIU's group of seniors (2009-12). The blowout victory, the Huskies' seventh consecutive win of the year, broke the mark set by last year's seniors.
Doeren said he was going to mention it to his players, and thought it would be a big deal for a group which has already won two consecutive Mid-American Conference West Division titles and is going for a third.
"It'll mean a lot," Doeren said. "I know they're a competitive group, they want to say they were better than last year's senior class. When I make that known I know they'll be really excited."
Throughout the past decade, NIU has been one of the premier programs in the MAC. All Huskies senior cornerback Rashaan Melvin is worried about is winning another conference championship. If that were to happen, this group of NIU players, with the exception of the true freshman, would be the only Huskies to win two MAC titles in their careers.
Melvin knew about the record the seniors just set when he was asked about it after the game. To him, the mark says a lot about how far the program has came, and where he thinks it's headed.
"Definitely means a lot," Melvin said. "This program's continually on the rise. Great players before us, and still players coming in who are playing well. Freshman class is good this year," he said. "It just keeps the tradition alive."
Senior tight end Jason Schepler enjoyed that he was part of a group who made school history Saturday. The Sycamore product caught one of NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch's two touchdown passes, a 15-yard play-action throw where he was wide open in the end zone.
The touchdown catch was the first in two years and the second career TD for Schepler, who sat out last season with a knee injury. His last touchdown came in the 2010 MAC Championship Game loss to Miami (Ohio).
While he talked about what his class was able to accomplish, he also hopes the record doesn't last long. He just wants to see it get broke next year by the current junior class, which has 29 career wins.
"That's pretty cool. That's awesome," Schepler said of the 36 wins. "I think our goal now is to have next year's class be the most winningest class. We want to win as many games as we can this year, but I think we want to have [the record] one year.