Northern Illinois will face Northwestern for the first time since 2005 when the teams play in Evanston on Sept. 6, 2014, officials from both schools announced Tuesday morning.
NIU athletic director Sean Frazier was thrilled to add the Wildcats to NIU’s schedule.
“I am extremely excited to add Northwestern, a high-quality opponent, to our 2014 football nonconference schedule,” Frazier said in a news release. “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.”
Northwestern has an NIU connection in athletic director Jim Phillips, who was NIU’s AD from 2004 to 2008.The Wildcats are 6-0-1 all-time against the Huskies, and all the games have been in Evanston.
In the team’s last meeting in 2005, NIU scored with six seconds left, only to lose 38-37 when quarterback Phil Horvath’s two-point conversion pass fell incomplete. On Sept. 29, 1990, Northwestern broke a 14-game losing streak with a 24-7 win over the Huskies.
NIU coach Rod Carey said the game is good for everyone involved.
“Really excited and glad that they got that worked out. We’re excited about the game,” Carey said during Tuesday’s news conference at the Yordon Center. “I think it’s going to be great for our fans, for their fans, for the Chicagoland area. I just think that it’s a game that is a real positive all the way around for us.”
Huskie sophomore tight end Desroy Maxwell grew up in the Rogers Park neighborhood on the North Side, but moved to Evanston during his senior year of high school and still has family there. He expects a nice contingent of family and friends supporting him next year.
“I’m excited. Get to go home and play [in front of] my family,” he said. “Just a good environment.”
NIU is offering a deal on tickets for the NIU-Northwestern game. Anyone who orders season tickets for the 2014 season between “early 2014 when season ticket renewals are mailed to April 30, 2014,” the school said in a release, will have the right to request game tickets. After that, NIU’s allotment will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
– Daily Chronicle, sports@firstname.lastname@example.org