DeKALB – The way the Northern Illinois players see it, there’s plenty on the line this afternoon at Huskie Stadium.
The inaugural Huskie Bowl, which features the Cardinal team, coached by linebackers coach Kevin Kane, and the Black team, which is coached by offensive line coach Joe Tripodi, figures to be more intense than your run-of-the-mill spring game.
After all, there is a steak dinner on the line.
“I think it’ll be really competitive,” said Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch, the starting QB for Team Kane. “I know a lot of guys talk trash to each other now and it gets kind of serious. I think it should be fun.”
Lynch and redshirt-freshman Matt Williams are the two quarterbacks for the Cardinal squad, while sophomore Matt McIntosh and redshirt-freshman Drew Hare will quarterback Tripodi’s team.
There’s been plenty of friendly banter among Lynch and his fellow QB’s leading up to the game.
“We exchange words and talk a little smack back and forth, but it’s fun and exciting,” Lynch said. “I think it’s going to be a good experience for the first year doing it.”
The Huskie Bowl, which is free and open to the public, begins and 1 p.m. and will be the final spring workout.
Each team will have 10 possessions from its own 25-yard line and two possessions from the opposing team’s 25. Should the game be tied after that, there will be overtime.
There will be no kickoffs or punts, but the game will feature field goals and extra points. When Tripodi and Kane and gotten together with their different squads during practice, special teams has been of extra importance.
Tripodi has the luxury of having Mathew Sims, while Tyler Wedel will kick for Team Kane.
“Points matter,” Tripodi said. “If you look at both Team Cardinal and the Black team here, we’re starting off our team periods kicking field goals. Making sure all the moving parts are in order.”
Both teams will be using offensive coordinator Bob Cole and defensive coordinator Jay Niemann.
NIU head coach Rod Carey, who won’t really be involved in the game, said the Huskie Bowl has added some more “juice” to the end of spring practice.
“I want to see them have fun,” Carey said. “I want to see them compete, and I want to see them have a good time and a good end to spring ball.”