DeKALB -- Coming off the most successful season in school history, three-straight years with 11 wins or more and back-to-back Mid-American Conference Championships, Northern Illinois will face one of its most challenging schedules in recent years when it opens the 2013 season.
The Huskies' schedule will take them on the road for four of their first five games next fall.
2013 NIU footballDate: Opponent, Time
Aug. 31: at Iowa, TBA
Sept. 14: at Idaho, TBA
Sept. 21: EASTERN ILLINOIS, TBA
Sept. 28: at Purdue, TBA
Oct. 5: at Kent State, TBA
Oct. 12: AKRON (Homecoming), TBA
Oct. 19: at Central Michigan, TBA
Oct. 26: EASTERN MICHIGAN, TBA
Nov. 2: at UMass, TBA
Nov. 13: BALL STATE, TBA (ESPN2/ESPNU)
Nov. 20: at Toledo, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Nov. 26: W. MICHIGAN, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Dec. 6: MAC Championship Game at Detroit, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Note: Home games in CAPS. Times listed are Central Time Zone and are subject to change.
With just five home games at Huskie Stadium, where NIU has won 21 straight games, NIU will be tested early before finishing with a MAC West midweek run in November featuring consecutive contests against Ball State, Toledo and Western Michigan.
In all, the Huskies will take on five teams that played in bowl games a year ago.
"With only three of the first nine games at home, the 2013 schedule presents a great challenge for our team," said NIU first-year head coach Rod Carey. "We look forward to meeting the challenge head on. With just five home games, we expect and need Huskie Stadium to be filled every time we are there. We've had quite a run at home, and we need great fan support to keep our streak alive with the quality of opponents coming to Huskie Stadium this year."
Northern Illinois will play two Big Ten teams in the same season for the first time since 2010 as the Huskies open the 2013 campaign at Iowa on Aug. 31 and travel to West Lafayette, Ind. to face Purdue Sept. 28, bookending NIU's non-conference slate. After enjoying a rare September open date on Sept. 7, NIU will play Idaho in the Kibbie Dome in Moscow on Sept. 14 before opening its home schedule versus Eastern Illinois on Sept. 21.
NIU also will make its first visit to Massachusetts on Nov. 3. The Minutemen and Huskies will meet at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, the home of the New England Patriots.
NIU opens 2013 spring practices March 20 with the spring game slated for April 13 at 2:30 p.m. at Huskie Stadium. Season tickets for the Huskies' five-game home schedule are on sale through the NIU Athletics External Office with prices beginning at just $50 for the new Huskieland Plan. Complete information, as well as season ticket renewal packets, will be available at the 2013 Football Kickoff event on Saturday at the NIU Convocation Center. Doors open at 5 p.m.
To purchase season tickets or for more information, call 815-753-1923 or check the Tickets page of NIUHuskies.com.
Northern Illinois returns 14 starters (8 offense, 5 defense, 1 specialist) in 2013, led by dual-threat quarterback Jordan Lynch, a 2012 second-team All-American who accounted for nearly 5,000 yards of total offense while setting NCAA records for rushing by a quarterback with 12 100-yard rushing games. Leading tackler Jimmie Ward and the Huskies' entire offensive line are among the 55 returning letterwinners for 2013.