DeKALB, Ill. – Northern Illinois, in conjunction with the Mid-American Conference, has finalized its home and away game times for the 2013 football season, with the Huskies’ game at Massachusetts on Saturday, Nov. 2 also selected for the MAC’s ESPN Regional television package.
Northern Illinois will play its 2013 home opener versus Eastern Illinois at 6 p.m. (CDT) on Sept. 21. NIU carries a 21-game winning streak at Huskie Stadium into the 2013 season and have not lost a home game in DeKalb since 2009. The Huskies have played a September night game to open their home schedule in each of the past four years and have played at least one early season night game in nine of the last 10 years.
Following a pair of road contests at Purdue (Sept. 28) and Kent State (Oct. 5) with kickoffs at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively, the Huskies will play host to Akron on October 12th for the 107th NIU Homecoming game. That contest will begin at 4 p.m. With multiple Homecoming events, the induction of the 2013 Hall of Fame Class and the reunions of three of the most memorable teams in school history celebrating the 1963, 1983 and 2003 Northern Illinois seasons, the later start time will give fans plenty of time to gather prior to the football game, said NIU Acting Athletic Director Christian Spears.
“We liked the idea of a special 4 p.m. start time for Homecoming and so did a lot of the campus groups and alumni that we spoke with about the game time,” Spears said. “We have so many activities going on surrounding that game this year. It’s going to be a special time on campus for our alumni and fans. We hope everyone – even those fans who haven’t been to a game in a long time – will come back to NIU for all of those activities.”
Northern Illinois will play a 2 p.m. (CT) game at Central Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 19th before returning to Huskie Stadium to play host to Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 2:30 p.m. (CT). Central Michigan handed the Huskies their last Mid-American Conference loss – a 48-41 defeat in Mt. Pleasant on Oct. 1, 2011.
On Saturday, Nov. 2, Northern Illinois will play UMass in Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots at 11 a.m. (CT). The game will be televised by ESPN Regional as part of the MAC’s syndicated package and will also be available on ESPN3, ESPN GamePlan and through the WatchESPN mobile app. Northern Illinois is offering a travel package for that game through NIUSportsTravel.com that includes two and three day options with hotel only or hotel and airfare in Boston. For more information or to book the trip, go to www.NIUSportsTravel.com.
After winning back-to-back MAC Championships and becoming the first team in league history to play in a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl with its appearance in the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl, Northern Illinois will once again be featured on ESPN2 and/or ESPNU weeknight broadcasts in November.
Kickoff for the Huskies’ home game versus Ball State on Wednesday, Nov. 13 will be at 7 p.m. (CT) with that game slated for either ESPN2 or ESPNU. A week later, Northern Illinois will play at Toledo on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2 in a game that has decided the MAC West more often than not over the last 10 years. With Huskie Stadium slated to host the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state football championships for the first time over Thanksgiving Weekend, a Tuesday night (Nov. 26) home game versus Western Michigan closes out the Huskies’ regular season schedule. The NIU-WMU game will begin at 6 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2.
“I like the variety in our game times this season,” Spears said. “We’ve heard from a lot of families that later times allow them to complete their kids’ activities and still make it to the game, but we know we also have people that have to drive several hours after the game. The 6, 4 and 2:30 games on Saturday should provide us with some good information on the best times for the most fans going forward.”
NIU fans can attend all five Huskie home games for just $50 through the new Huskieland Plan, which comes with $50 in Doggie Dollars good for parking and/or concessions and the same seat to all five games in sections A and G of Huskie Stadium. All remaining season ticket locations for the 2013 Huskie Stadium home slate are just $100 while NIU Alumni Association members, senior citizens (62+), youth (3-13), NIU Varsity Club (former letterwinners) members and faculty and staff can see every game for just $88. Call 815-753-1923 or go online to www.NIUHuskies.com/tickets for more information or to order season tickets.