September 2011 Archives

CENTRAL MICHIGAN PREVIEWS

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Harnish-Chandler-CMU.jpgThe Northern Illinois University football team opens Mid-American Conference play Saturday in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. when the Huskies take on Central Michigan. At Tuesday's weekly press conference, NIU head coach Dave Doeren spoke about the respect NIU has for Central Michigan and what they've accomplished, winning the MAC title in three of the last five years, and how the Huskies would like to enjoy the same success.

As Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune writes, Doeren has sought out the guidance of some of his current assistant coaches and reached out to former Huskie head man Joe Novak. You will also find the game recap from Saturday's win over Cal Poly in the related topics box within that story.

Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle delves a little deeper into Doeren's education on Central Michigan and the MAC as running backs coach Eddie Faulkner reminisces about some of his trips to Central Michigan during his eight years at Ball State in this story.

HUSKIES CREATE THEMED LEARNING COMMUNITY

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Continuing to bring its motto to life, NIU Intercollegiate Athletics has taken its "Developing Champions" attitude even further with the implementation of a Themed Learning Community (TLC).  This year, 25 select freshman student-athletes from nearly every Huskie athletic program are participating a TLC named "Developing Champions: In the classroom, in competition and in life."  The focus of the group is on leadership and social justice.  For more information about the TLC, click here to ready today's article from NIU Today.  

ATHLETICS WELCOMES NEWEST HUSKIE

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Congratulations to Northern Illinois' Associate Athletic Director for Major Gifts Mark Muhlhauser and his wife, Jill, as they welcomed daughter Brooklyn Mackenzie Muhlhauser to the world last night (Sept. 26) at 9:52 p.m.

The newest addition to the Huskie Family weighed in at 8 lbs., 5.5 oz. and is 21 inches long.  She joins big brothers Osten (7) and Jake (3), who were excited to meet their baby sister at the hospital earlier today. 

With mom and baby Brooklyn both doing well, Muhlhauser can turn his attention back to his next "baby" - the Chessick Indoor Facility.
   

FORMER HUSKIE SOCCER PLAYER NAMED TO ALL-STAR TEAM

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Drew Jeskey, a member of the NIU men's soccer team from 2005-08, was named to the 2011 Brisbane Select Team while playing professionally in Australia. Jeskey is one of four players from the Wolves FC club to be named to the 11-player Select Team, which is the equivalent to an All-Star team in American sports. Wolves FC will play Rochedale Rovers in the Brisbane Premier League Grand Final on Thursday, Sept. 29.

BASEBALL ALUMS WIN FRONTIER LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP

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A pair of Northern Illinois baseball alum, Chuck Lukanen '10 and Brian Smith '10, won the Frontier League Championship Series Sept. 18 with the Joliet Slammers by defeating the River City Rascals, 6-5. The Slammers took the five-game series 3-1. Congratulations to Chuck and Brian on their accomplishment.


For more on the Slammers run to the league championship, click here.



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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Six Huskie teams were in action during the last full week of September, including volleyball opening MAC action at home and football closing up their non-conference slate against Cal Poly.

Football: Northern Illinois got back on track Saturday with a convincing 47-30 victory over Cal Poly. The Huskie offense set season-highs in first downs (33), rushing yards (355) and total yards (542), while the defense only allowed seven points in the first half to help NIU to a 34-7 halftime advantage. During the game, quarterback Chandler Harnish broke George Bork's 48-year record of touchdowns accounted for when he hit Perez Ashford on a three-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter.

Volleyball: The Huskies split their conference-opening matches over the weekend at Victor E. Court. NIU won only their second conference opener in 10 years on Friday with a 3-0 sweep of Central Michigan, extending their win streak to four and stopping CMU's win streak at four. That Huskie win streak, though, was snapped on Saturday night, as Eastern Michigan left DeKalb with a 3-1 victory over NIU.

Men's Soccer: Northern Illinois improved to 7-1 on the season Saturday with a 1-0 win over the Drake Bulldogs. The lone goal of the game came from the foot of James Stevenson, who pushed a shot past Drake goalkeeper Jordan Kadlec in the 26th minute. Jordan Godsey was again stellar in net with seven saves on the day.

Women's Soccer: NIU fought long and hard on Friday and Sunday, but lost both matches on their MAC opening weekend. The Huskies welcomed conference favorite Toledo to DeKalb on Friday and took them to overtime before falling 1-0 on an overtime goal by the Rockets. Their struggles continued on Sunday, as they dropped a 3-0 decision to Ball State.

Men's Golf: The Northern Illinois men's golf team headed to southern California for the Saint Mary's Invitational on Monday and Tuesday, where they finished tied for 13th with Pacific. Bryce Emory led NIU with a +10, 226 to finish tied for 31st overall, while Nick Schiavi was tied for 33rd with a +11, 227 performance.

Men's Tennis:
The Huskies headed to Des Moines, Iowa, for the Drake Invitational over the weekend. Axel Lagerlof highlighted NIU's weekend by advancing to the A Bracket finals before falling to Drake's Anis Ghorbel 6-2, 6-2. The Swede also won the doubles consolation bracket, teaming up with Max Phillips to go 2-1 in the doubles side.

The Huskies will wrap up September and begin October this week with a host of competitions. Both soccer team's will be in action Friday through Sunday, while the women's golf team hosts the NIU Huskie Classic Sunday and Monday.

HUSKIE ASSISTANT RYAN TOMEI GETS NATIONAL ATTENTION

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Tomei_Ryan.JPGOne day after his addition to the staff was announced, Huskie wrestling volunteer assistant coach Ryan Tomei talked to Takedown Wrestling's Scott Casber about joining Northern Illinois and his days at Pittsburgh, among other topics.

Ryan Tomei talks to national writer Scott Casber on Takedown Radio



BENNETT TO SPEAK AT IBCA CLINIC SATURDAY

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NIU women's basketball head coach Kathi Bennett will be one of two speakers at the 39th annual South Suburb Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Fall Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox, Ill.  Bennett will mainly discuss her signature defensive philosophy.  Also speaking will be retired St. Francis coach and IBCA Hall of Famer Pat Sullivan.  Click here for more information about the clinic.

MOVING ON PAST WISCONSIN

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At Tuesday's weekly press conference, NIU head coach Dave Doeren and a few Huskie players met the media at the weekly press conference. Doeren looked back at the Wisconsin game, but quickly turned his attention to the task at hand - Cal Poly. Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune and Lindsey Willhite of the Daily Herald talked about NIU moving on from the loss.

Willhite pointed out in his story the Huskies 1-2 record is the same mark they had after three games last year. He also talks about the growing pains the NIU defense, which returns just two starters, is going through right now.

Mitchell talked about NIU's seniors taking control of the team as soon as they arrived back on campus in his piece. He also includes a video interview with Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Jeff Compher regarding the $3 million gift the department received to build its indoor practice facility.

In his press conference wrap up, Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle talked about the uniqueness of facing a triple-option offense this often in this day and age of college football and how facing Army in the season opener may give the Huskies a bit of an edge.
 

"WORTHY OF ATTENTION"

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Says College Soccer News about the Huskies as they give a "Lightning Round" look at this week's national poll. College Soccer News believes that NIU is "a team that is going to win a lot of games before the season is over." The Huskies are 26th in this week's College Soccer News poll. In other polls, NIU comes in at number 20 by the NSCAA and number 24 according to both Soccer America and Soccer Times.


WOMEN'S SOCCER CELEBRATION EARNS NATIONAL ATTENTION

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The Northern Illinois women's soccer team earned mention in TopDrawerSoccer.com's women's soccer national column this week for its senior day celebration before the team defeated Loyola 2-0. It was the Huskies final non-conference contest of 2011.


HUSKIE VOLLEYBALL CONTINUES TO GET VOTES IN AVCA TOP 25

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With today's release of the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association's top 25 poll, the NIU volleyball team remains in the top 25 mix for the third straight week.  In the Sept. 5th poll, the Huskies received six votes and received four in last week's poll.  This week, NIU gathered four votes again after a 2-0 home weekend that featured a pair of sweeps.

The Huskies' only three losses this season have all been to top 25-caliber teams.  NIU has fallen to No. 14 Northern Iowa, No. 16 Iowa State and Texas A&M, who received 21 votes in this week's poll.  The Huskies also have a win over Cincinnati, who also had four votes in this week's poll.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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It was an eventful week in Huskie athletics, as six teams were in action during the past week. The main event, of course, was the Soldier Field Showdown II between NIU and No. 7 Wisconsin, where 41,068 people watched the Huskies and Badgers play inside the historic Chicago stadium.

Football: Keyed by 384 yards of total offense from QB Russell Wilson, Wisconsin defeated Northern Illinois, 49-7, at Soldier Field. The Huskie offense, meanwhile, could only manage 237 yards of total offense against the stout UW defense. During the game, Dr. Kenneth and Ellen Chessick made a $3 million gift to Northern Illinois Athletics that will name the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Indoor Facility. The gift is the largest ever made to NIU Athletics and the second largest ever made to the university.

Volleyball: Northern Illinois won their second and third straight matches over the weekend, as they returned to Victor E. Court to face UIC and South Florida. On Friday night, the Huskies doused the in-state rival Flames in a 3-0 sweep, as they outhit UIC .371-.103. On Sunday afternoon, NIU moved to 3-0 against Big East teams with a 3-0 win over the USF Bulls. On the season, eight of NIU's 11 wins have come by sweeps.

Men's Soccer: The No. 13 Huskies went down to the wire twice over the weekend at the Northwestern Lakeside Classic, encountering different results both times. On Friday, NIU was shocked in overtime by Xavier, who used an overtime marker to defeat the Huskies, 2-1. Northern got back on track Sunday afternoon, though, as Gael Rivera's overtime goal sent the Huskies home with a 2-1 win over Cal-Davis.

Women's Soccer: The Huskies turned up the defense in two home matches over the weekend at the NIU Soccer Complex. On Tuesday, NIU outshot Eastern Illinois, 24-7, but was unable to reach the back of the net in a 0-0 tie with the Panthers. NIU would redeem themselves for Sunday's Senior Day festivities with a dominating 2-0 shutout of Loyola to earn their first win of the season.

Women's Golf: The Northern Illinois women's golf team teed off on their 2011 fall season with two tournaments in neighboring states. On Monday and Tuesday, the Huskies took fourth place at the Green Bay Invitational in Green Bay, Wis., with Katie Kuhn leading all Huskies with a total of 149. The squad returned to action over the weekend at the Cardinal Classic in Munice, Ind. with an eighth place finish.

Men's Tennis:
Northern Illinois began their fall schedule over the weekend in River Forest, Ill., at the River Forest Collegiate Invitational. Leading NIU on the courts were Maksym Bartiuk and Axel Lagerlof, who both emerged from singles competition undefeated.

With the men's golf team currently in action in sunny California, six teams will be in action over the next week, including football hosting Cal Poly Saturday afternoon and women's soccer and volley each hosting a pair of matches in DeKalb.

QUARTERBACK OF THE OFFENSIVE LINE

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Wedige-Scott-UW.jpgWisconsin native Scott Wedige has flourished the last two seasons since taking over as the starting center for the Huskies at the beginning of the last season. After serving as a back up his first two years at NIU, Wedige has become a leader on the NIU offense. As Scott Powers writes in this feature story posted late Friday, Wedige is also a solid NFL prospect.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THE HUSKIE CAR!

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Be on the lookout for the newest addition to the Huskie fleet!  Earlier today, NIU Director of Communications and Marketing Brad Hoey stopped by the Convocation Center to show off his ride to Saturday's NIU-Wisconsin football game.  Complete with nearly every Huskie decal imaginable, the car will be on display at Soldier Field tomorrow, and many other locations in the very near future.  Keep your eyes peeled!  See if you can find the car tomorrow at the game!

HOFFMAN FEATURED IN AURORA BEACON-NEWS

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In 2007, NIU volleyball senior setter Kristin Hoffman was named to the Beacon News All-Area First Team as a standout senior for Batavia High School.  Four years later, Hoffman runs the show for the Huskies, who are receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 Poll, and is NIU volleyball's first Academic All-American (2010). 

However, Hoffman isn't the only one from the 2007 Beacon News All-Area First Team to go on to have a successful college career, as Rick Armstrong documents in a feature story Tuesday.  Click here to read.

FREEMAN GOES PRO IN POLAND

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On Monday, former NIU women's basketball standout Marke Freeman (2008-11) inked a professional deal to play in the PLKK, a Polish basketball league, with Tecza Leszno.  She left for Poland yesterday to join her former teammate Ebony Ellis (2007-11), who signed with the PLKK's Odra Brzeg in August.  Recently, the 26th member of NIU's 1,000-point club was featured in The State Journal-Register by Marcia Martinez.  Click here to read.

SEEING OLD FRIENDS

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Doeren 4.jpgRyan Wood of the Daily Chronicle offers his take on NIU head coach Dave Doeren facing his old team. He talks about Doeren's relationships with many of the Badger coaches that go beyond their time together at Wisconsin.

HUSKIES IN THE HERALD

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The Daily Herald has a pair of articles in today's paper you might want to check out today. Mike McGraw filed this story on Northern Illinois' up-tempo offense, while Lindsey Willhite talks about Dave Doeren's standing summer vacation plans with his old boss, Bret Bielema. Willhite also has some news and notes about tomorrow's game with the Badgers at the end of that same piece.

DOEREN FEATURE IN THE TRIBUNE

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Doeren 7.jpgChicago Tribune columnist David Haugh took a trip out to DeKalb yesterday to sit down with NIU head football coach Dave Doeren. The two spoke of Doeren's adjustment to being a head coach, his desire to broaden the NIU fan base and facing his old team at Soldier Field tomorrow. It's a must read for any Huskie fan.

EARLY MORNING ON THE HARDWOOD

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first workout.jpgAs of today, Sept. 15, NCAA rules allow college basketball teams to begin full team workouts for up to two hours per week. NIU head coach Mark Montgomery wasted little time in getting the Huskies on the floor, putting his squad through a workout at 6:15 a.m. this morning. The first official day of practice might be 29 days away, and the regular season opener at Purdue 57 days away, but the Huskies are already hard at work preparing for the season.

A PAIR OF PREVIEWS

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Wedige-Scott.jpgJay Taft of the Rockford Register Star posted this story on how NIU has to overcome its disappointing loss to Kansas to face Wisconsin of Saturday at Soldier Field. Rick Armstrong of the Beacon News talks about the many NIU-Wisconsin story lines including center and Wisconsin-native Scott Wedige in his preview story.

24-HOUR RULE

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While many fans are still fighting off the sting of losing in the final seconds to Kansas, the members of the NIU football team have moved on.

"I know for us, it's a 24-hour rule after a loss," Wedige said. "Even after a win, 24 hours. You can't get too high, you can't get too low. You've got to move on because if you hold onto that loss or that win, it's going to effect you the next week. You can't have a hangover from the past weeks."
As Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle writes, NIU head coach Dave Doeren told his players to forget about the Kansas game and start thinking about Wisconsin. That's just what the Huskies did getting into the film room and hitting the practice field Sunday.

FACING A FAMILIAR FOE

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Doeren 5.jpgNIU head coach Dave Doeren returned to one of his old stomping grounds this past weekend when the Huskies traveled to Kansas to face the Jayhawks. This week, he will look across the sidelines and see a lot of familiar faces when Northern Illinois plays host to Wisconsin at Soldier Field Saturday.

Doeren spent five seasons at Wisconsin, serving as defensive coordinator for Bret Bielema. Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com delves further into Doeren's time in Madison in his blog post yesterday, while Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune posted this story on Doeren's familiarity with Wisconsin and how the team has responded after the disappointing setback to Kansas.

DOEREN ON THE SCORE WEDNESDAY MORNING

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On Wednesday morning at 8:20 a.m., tune in to NIU radio partner 670 AM The Score Chicago to hear head coaches Dave Doeren of Northern Illinois and Bret Bielema of Wisconsin discuss Saturday's match-up at Soldier Field on the "Mully and Hanley Show." 

Doeren and Bielema will be on the show together to promote Soldier Field Showdown II.  Tickets are still on sale for the game, as Northern Illinois plays host to a Big Ten team for just the second time in school history.  Click on the "Buy Tickets" button at the top of this page or call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000.

Doeren has been plenty busy, and is still popular, north of the Illinois border.  The Huskies' first year head man taped segments with five different radio shows Tuesday, including stations in Madison, Janesville/Rockford and Milwaukee.


HUSKIE SOCCER IN THE POLLS

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Just as college football has two different top-25 polls, the college soccer world also has a number of different polls ranking the top teams in the country. After a 5-0 start to the season, the Huskies appear in all four polls released as of Tuesday. In the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and Soccer America polls, the Huskies come in at number 13. In other polls, the Huskies check in at 25th according to Soccer Times and 26th in the College Soccer News rankings. 

NIU Volleyball Gets Four Votes in AVCA Top 25 Poll

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VBall Team UNILast week the Huskie volleyball team received six votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Coaches Poll.  Following a 3-1 week of play on the road, NIU has remained in the AVCA coaches' minds as they received four votes this week.  Prior to last week's poll, the Huskies had not received votes in the AVCA Top 25 Poll since 2001. 

THE HUSKIES AND THEIR PURSUIT FOR POSTSEASON AWARDS

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Hey Huskie football fans,


As most of you probably already know, a trio of student-athletes on this year's squad garnered preseason accolades on college football's major award lists. Below is a multitude of links with easy access to the award pages, Facebook and Twitter pages. Be sure to vote for the Huskies, bookmark and follow the pages.


Fan voting is currently open for the Davey O'Brien Award. Should quarterback Chandler Harnish advance to the semifinals, fan voting will be available.


Each award is listed below, with the players nominated in parentheses next to it.


Davey O'Brien Award (Chandler Harnish)

www.daveyobrien.com | www.voteobrien.org | www.facebook.com/daveyobrien | www.twitter.com/daveyobrien


Lowe's Senior CLASS Award (Chandler Harnish)

www.seniorclassaward.com/football | www.facebook.com/LowesSeniorCLASSAward | www.twitter.com/snrclassaward | www.seniorclassaward.com/vote *


* - Voting currently unavailable on Senior CLASS Award


Maxwell Award (Chandler Harnish)

www.maxwellfootballclub.org/maxwell-award | www.twitter.com/Maxwell_MW | www.facebook.com/MaxwellFootballClub


Manning Award (Chandler Harnish)

www.allstatesugarbowl.org/site26.php | www.twitter.com/SugarBowlNola | www.facebook.com/allstatesugarbowl


Rimington Trophy (Trevor Olson)

www.twitter.com/rimingtontrophy | www.rimingtontrophy.com | www.facebook.com/rimingtontrophy | www.rimingtontrophyblog.com | www.twitter.com/cysticfibrosis


Outland Trophy (Trevor Olson)

www.outlandtrophy.com | www.twitter.com/fwaa


Lombardi Trophy (Scott Wedige)

www.rotarylomardiaward.com | www.twitter.com/lombardiaward | www.rotarylombardiaward.blogspot.com



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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The Huskies went through a busy week, as seven teams were in action during the past seven days. Among the highlights include men's soccer staying undefeated, along women's tennis and men's golf kicking off their fall seasons.

Football: Northern Illinois racked up 462 yards of total offense and 42 points on the Kansas defense, but it was not enough as the Jayhawks used a last-second touchdown pass to top the Huskies, 45-42, in Lawrence, Kan. Chandler Harnish finished the game with 315 yards on 27-of-33 passing and two touchdowns, in addition to 89 yards on 11 carries and a career-best three touchdowns on the ground.

Volleyball: The Huskie volleyball squad went 2-1 over the weekend in Texas with wins over Lamar and Stephen F. Austin. NIU extended their win streak to six on Thursday with a 3-0 sweep of the Lamar Cardinals. That streak, however, was snapped at the hands of the Texas A&M Aggies, who stayed undefeated with a 3-1 win over the Huskies in the Ladyjack Invitational opener.Northern Illinois rebounded, though, by downing Stephen F. Austin, 3-1.

Men's Soccer: Northern Illinois captured the NIU adidas Invitational title over the weekend with a pair of wins at the NIU Soccer Complex. The Huskies opened things up Friday with a tight 1-0 victory over Valparaiso in which freshman Isaac Kannah netted the game-winner in the 85th minute. Things were not so tight on Sunday, though, as NIU used a pair of goals in each half to sink the Portland Pilots, 4-0.

Women's Soccer: Northern's women's soccer team hung with national-power Wisconsin for most of the match Thursday, but it was not enough as the Huskies fell to the Badgers, 2-0. NIU was able to withstand Wisconsin's 23 shots with excellent defense, while goalie Amy Carr made six saves.

Men's Golf: The Huskie men's golf squad kicked off their fall schedule Saturday and Sunday with the Northern Intercollegiate at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. After finishing second after the first day, NIU ultimately claimed eighth place as a team. Bryce Emory led all Huskies with a 226, +13 total to finish tied for 22nd, while Paul Hammerschmidt was one shot behind in 25th.

Women's Tennis:
The Huskies opened their 2011 fall schedule Friday and Saturday, as they hosted the NIU Invitational. Haley Dekkinga starred for NIU, as she went 2-1 in the Black singles bracket, while teaming up with Nelle Youel to win the Huskie doubles bracket championship.

Cross Country: Northern Illinois returned home to the NIU North 40 Saturday morning, as they took sixth place at the NIU Open. Courtney Oldenburg led the charge for NIU, placing 11th overall with a time of 19:07.81 on the 5K course. Claire McAuley placed 39th with a clip of 20:31.81, while Alexis Capps crossed the finish line at 21:31.72 - good for 60th.

Things only get busier for the Huskies, as women's golf gets underway Monday at the Green Bay Invitational. In addition, football hosts Wisconsin in the Soldier Field Showdown II, while women's soccer and volleyball hosts matches in DeKalb.

NIU-KU WRAP UP

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KU-Line of Scrimmage.jpgThe Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times and Daily Chronicle all sent reporters to Lawrence, Kan. for the Huskies' first road game of the season. Fred Mitchell was on site for the Trib and filed this game story, while the Sun-Times Lacy Banks offered his take on Saturday's outcome. Ryan Wood of the Chronicle posted this story after the game.

BAXTER COMING INTO HIS OWN

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Alan Baxter sacks the QB.jpgOne of the biggest plays of Saturday's win over Army that was lost in the seven touchdown barrage the Huskies delivered on the Black Knights came at the end of the season quarter. With Army poised to score on a fourth and goal, defensive end Alan Baxter stuffed quarterback Trent Steelman, stripped the ball and recovered the ball, securing NIU's 35-6 halftime advantage. Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle wrote this feature on the Huskie junior.

VIEW FROM THE OPPOSITION

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While we mainly post stories from the local and national media on this site, we thought you'd like to see what the Lawrence media is saying about tomorrow's game. Here's a breakdown and prediction of tomorrow's game from the Kansas City Star.

PREVIEW AND PREDICTION FOR SATURDAY'S GAME

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Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com posted his previews and predictions for Saturday's games with area schools.


Northern Illinois (1-0) at Kansas (1-0)


When, where: 6 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan.
TV: Fox College Sports
Radio: WIND-560 AM
Web: NIUHuskies.com
What you need to know: Northern Illinois had the most impressive showing of the in-state teams last week. The Huskies burst out of the gate against Army and built a 35-6 lead at halftime on the way to a 49-26 victory. Quarterback Chandler Harnish had his usual type of performance, completing 12-of-19 passes for 195 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Jasmin Hopkins also rushed for 138 yards. Kansas should present more of a fight. Kansas had a rocky first season under coach Turner Gil and went 3-9. The Jayhawks looked improved in their season-opening 42-24 win over McNeese State. Kansas did most of its damage by ground, rushing for 301 yards. Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren was a former assistant at Kansas.
Powers' prediction: Northern Illinois 38, Kansas 24

HUSKIES LOOK FOR CREDIBILITY

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Pegram-Logan-2010-002.jpgWhile Saturday's game is a homecoming for several members of the Northern Illinois University football team, Rick Armstrong of the Sun-Times writes the contest versus Big 12 foe Kansas is also important to NIU in terms of gaining credibility with a win over an AQ conference opponent.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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The Labor Day weekend was a busy one for Huskie athletics, as five teams were in action during the long weekend. During the week, the Huskies finished 7-1-1 in competition, while volleyball won the Bluejay Invitational in Omaha, Neb., and men's soccer took the Michigan Invitational title.

Football: The Huskies kicked off their season in dominating fashion Saturday night with a convincing 49-26 triumph over the Army Black Knights. After Army drew within 7-6 midway through the first quarter, Chandler Harnish and the Huskie offense exploded for 42 unanswered points en route to a 49-6 lead after the third quarter. The Huskies would finish the game with 509 total yards of offense against the Black Knight defense.

Volleyball: Coming off a 3-0 win against Green Bay on Tuesday, the Huskies took home the Bluejay Invitational title in Omaha, Neb. The team opened with a 3-0 sweep of host Creighton on Friday night. They followed that up on Saturday morning by toppling Marquette by a 3-1 margin. They would close things out against South Dakota with a 3-0 sweep of the Coyotes to clinch the tournament title.

Men's Soccer: Northern Illinois captured the Michigan Invitational title over the weekend with two wins over 2010 NCAA Tournament squads. On Friday, NIU knocked off Oakland, 2-1, on a 85th minute goal from Pat Sloan. They would follow that up on Sunday with a 1-0 shutout of the host Wolverines, with Sloan scoring the lone tally in the match.

Women's Soccer: The Huskies had two matches over the weekend against Missouri Valley Conference members Illinois State and Northern Iowa. On Friday, NIU made the short trip south to Normal, Ill., where they fell to the Redbirds, 5-0. However, Sunday's performance against the UNI Panthers was more promising in a 1-1 tie. Despite falling behind early, the Huskies tacked on a goal in the 46th minute from Corrine Frankenberg. However, neither team was able to break the deadlock.

Cross Country: Northern Illinois opened their 2011 season at the UIC Opener in Palos Heights, Ill., which was the Huskie debut for head coach Greg Hipp. Courtney Oldenburg led the way for NIU with a 12th place finish on the two-mile course, crossing the line with a time of 11:48.90. Also in the top half of the field were Claire McAuley (25th - 12:15.10) and freshman Jamie Burr (26th - 12:15.90).

All five squads will be in action next weekend as well, including men's soccer hosting the NIU adidas Invitational Friday & Sunday, women's soccer at home against Wisconsin Thursday and cross country hosting the NIU Open on the North 40 course Saturday morning. Stay tuned to www.niuhuskies.com for all the latest news on Huskie athletics.

HARNISH HONORED

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Harnish 1.jpgChandler Harnish made the winners section of Yahoo! Sports Winners and Losers list. He's one of six quarterbacks highlighted for their performances Saturday.

Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish: One of the nation's most underrated quarterbacks opened the season in style by throwing five touchdown passes and rushing for a sixth score in Northern Illinois' 49-26 victory over Army.
Harnish also earned accolades from Andrea Adelson ESPN.com. He earned a helmet sticker from the ESPN blogger for his five touchdown performance. He was also named MAC West offensive player of the week.

RECAPS FROM THE AREA OF VICTORY OVER ARMY

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Line of Scrimmage.jpgThe Huskies opened the 2011 season with a dominating performance over Army Saturday night at Huskies Stadium. For the most complete coverage of the game fans can turn to NIUHuskies.com for game story, postgame notes, stats and photo gallery as well as a highlight video from the game.

The Chicagoland media was out in force Saturday with Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune providing a recap of the game as well as clips from the postgame press conference in his story. Lacy Banks of the Sun-Times offered his take on the game.

Rockford Register Star's Matt Trowbridge and Rick Armstrong of the Beacon News were on hand as well. Trowbridge talked of quarterback Chandler Harnish's play in his recap, while Armstrong summed up NIU's performance in one word - dazzling - in his story.

Locally, the Daily Chronicle had several stories on NIU's victory over Army including this game recap by Ryan Wood.

TRYING TO MAKE THE LIST

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Hopkins-Jasmin-2010-003.jpgNames like Hammock, Turner, Wolfe and Spann are part of NIU's long-standing tradition of producing successful running backs. Senior Jas Hopkins is looking to add his name to that list.  A native of Stanley, N.C., Hopkins came to Northern Illinois via Fort Scott Community College where he was the NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year in 2009. Rick Armstrong posted this story in the Aurora Beacon News on the 5-9, 180 lb tailback.

Also, if you're going to the game tomorrow, be sure to pick up a copy of the game program. Matt Scheerer of NIU Media Relations wrote an excellent feature story on Hopkins and his career at Fort Scott.

MAKING THE MOST OF HIS OPPORTUNITY

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Melvin-Rashaan-2010-013.jpgRashaan Melvin has risen from a walk-on, to scholarship player to starter at Northern Illinois University, The first in his family to go to college, the Waukegan native is making the most of his opportunity - on and off the field. Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com sat down with the redshirt junior to talk about his time at NIU in this feature story.

There is also a preview of tomorrow's game with Army (6 p.m., ESPN3.com) on the site as well.

Army (0-0) at Northern Illinois (0-0)

When, where: 6 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill.
TV: None
Radio: WSCR-AM 670
Web: ESPN3.com
What you need to know: Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren makes his debut on the sidelines. Even with a new coach, expectations haven't changed in DeKalb. The Huskies are coming off an 11-3 season and a bowl win, and they return starting quarterback Chandler Harnish and their entire offensive line. It's unknown who will emerge to replace Chad Spann in the backfield, but Northern Illinois believes it has a couple of capable backs. Northern Illinois' defense is less experienced, but luckily that's Doeren specialty. He was Wisconsin's defensive coordinator before arriving to Northern Illinois. Army had its first winning season last year since 1996 and won its first bowl game since 1985. Jared Hassin ran for 1,000-plus yards last season and is back for the Black Knights.
Powers' prediction: Northern Illinois 38, Army 17 

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