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updated: 11/26/2013 12:57 PM

Diesel, NIU's mascot, retiring after 9 years

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Associated Press

DEKALB -- Northern Illinois' blue-eyed husky mascot is retiring after spending nine years on the sidelines.

The high-fiving canine is a furry fixture at Huskies games along with his owner, Tom Bonnevier. The school's athletics director, Sean Frazier, says in a statement that Diesel "has become the face of Huskie football."

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The university says 10-year-old Diesel will be honored during Tuesday night's game against Western Michigan. Once he becomes the school's "mascot emeritus," he'll be replaced by a husky named Mission. The new mascot is nearly 2-years-old.

The 18th-ranked team remains unbeaten this season and is hoping for a second consecutive BCS bid.

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