The NIU Huskies play tonight in the Orange Bowl. Those who have followed the team through the years have a lot to be excited about.
All of the anticipation comes down to one game tonight in Miami when the Huskies face Florida State.
Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m.
NIU Quarterback Jordan Lynch says he is not afraid to perform on the national stage:
“We’ve played in big games already. We played two games on TV where a lot of people got to watch. I just try to tell the guys ‘just play within ourselves and do what we do.’ That’s what got us here. Listen to the coaches. Don’t try to do anything by yourself. Do your 1/11th part and everything should take care of itself.”
John Ivanic is at least on former Huskie who will be at the game. He was the team’s place kicker in the late 1980’s. He now lives in Columbus, Ohio and works as a spokesman for the city council.
“People walk in my office, they see my helmet. I have other little trinkets of memorabilia around here. My license plate says “NIU PK 1”. So I’m a proud Huskie dog here in Columbus, Ohio. That Monday after the BCS selection, I brought oranges for the entire city council and Mayor’s administration... probably 4 dozen oranges to remind them how proud I am to be from Northern Illinois."
By the mid-1990’s NIU’s football program hit hard times. For 20 seasons, Brad Hoey produced the coach’s show:
“The 23 game losing streak, the 3 wins in three seasons, 36 coaches shows and only talking about 3 wins in 3 years. So when you think back to those days and where we are right now and the success that we have achieved it’s tremendous.”
Dave Doeren won’t be on the sidelines, be he will be at the game. He coached the team throughout the regular season, but took a job with N.C. State.
“Obviously, as a competitor, I’d like to have compete against Florida State, but I am also a realist, and I know the job that I just accepted had a lot of work for me to do.”
NIU promoted Rod Carey to head coach.
NIU’s Jordan Lynch says he doesn’t expect many surprises in tonight's game:
“We aren’t going to change anything for anybody. We are going to stick to our game plan and that’s what got us there.”
Can't make it to Miami?
Rockford fans can gather at Brewsky’s (4414 Charles Street). Appetizers and door prizes will be provided, courtesy of the NIU Rockford Alumni Club and the NIU Alumni Association. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. There is no charge to attend, but registration is requested at http://myniu.com/niu-is-in-the-orange-bowl/