2013-14 Bowl Schedule Announced

|
NIU Defense Celebrates.jpg
The 2013-14 college football bowl schedule has been set. The Mid-American Conference has primary agreements with three bowl games; Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and GoDaddy Bowl. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, played in Boise, Idaho, kicks off at 4:30 p.m. CT on Dec. 21 and is one of four bowl games to be played that day. It will feature teams from the MAC and Mountain West. The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, held in Detroit's Ford Field, will be played Dec. 26 and kickoff at 5 p.m. CT. The game features a MAC school facing off against a team from the Big Ten. The penultimate bowl game of the season, the GoDaddy Bowl, held in Mobile, Ala. and featuring a MAC-Sun Belt match up will take place Jan 5. at 7 p.m. CT.

The Bowl Championship Series bowl games will be played Jan. 1, 2, 3 and 6. The Rose and Fiesta Bowls will be played on New Year's Day and kickoff at 4 and 7:30 p.m. respectively. The Sugar Bowl will be played Jan. 2, while the Huskies' 2012 bowl destination, the Orange Bowl, will take place Jan. 3. The National Championship game will be played Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif.

Northern Illinois has made five straight bowl appearances (2008 Independence Bowl, 2010 International Bowl, 2010 Humanitarian Bowl, 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl and 2013 Orange Bowl) and are looking to make it six in 2013. The Huskies return 14 starters (8 offense, 5 defense, 1 specialist) in 2013, led by dual-threat quarterback Jordan Lynch (Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel), 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 (Mobile, Ala./Davidson) and NIU's entire offensive line are among the 55 returning letter winners for 2013.

2013 MAC FOOTBALL PREVIEW

|

Postgame 6.jpg

Bloguin's The Crystal Ball Run blog has been hard at work this week cranking out a series of posts this week previewing the upcoming 2013 Mid-American Conference football season. The Crystal Ball Run staff makes its conference championship picks, names its all-conference teams and ranks the strengths of schedules. There is an interesting post on the future relationship of the MAC and Big Ten and a podcast breaking down this year's season.


You can meet the league's new coaches, including NIU head coach Rod Carey and CBR breaks down the top 10 #MACtion games for 2013. The Huskies make three appearances on the list, including the top two.

Northern Illinois senior student-athletes Lauren Eberts (women's soccer), Samantha Grams (volleyball), Shaakira Haywood (women's basketball), Jenelle McCalla (track & field) and Amanda Sheppard (softball) have been honored as 2013 Outstanding Women Student Awards for their contributions to Northern Illinois University. Awarded annually since 1980, the honor is given by the NIU Presidential Commission on the Status of Women to 48 women across all disciplines.
 
Eberts, who has a 3.762 GPA in public health, played in every minute of the team's 2012 season. The senior defender helped NIU allow the fewest goals in the Mid-American Conference and the second-fewest shots on goal in NIU's program history.
 
Grams maintains a 3.805 GPA as a health sciences major. The Forest Park, Ill., native earned Academic All-MAC honorable mention laurels during her senior campaign with the Huskies after playing in 24 matches and 62 sets in 2012. Grams totaled 28 kills, 39 blocks and 14 digs during the year, scoring 48 total points during the season.
 
Haywood has a 3.687 GPA in psychology. She played in all 30 games, starting 12 at center in 2012-13 and has played in 37 straight games dating back to February of 2012. Haywood scored a career-high 73 points, averaging 2.4 points a game, shooting 43.3 percent (26-60) on the season.
 
McCalla, who has a perfect 4.0 GPA in psychology, holds the NIU school record in the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:01.76. This year, the Whitby, Ontario, Canada, native qualified for the MAC Indoor Championships in the 60 hurdles, while also contributing on NIU's 4x400 relay teams.
 
Sheppard has a 3.495 GPA in kinesiology and helped the Huskies reach the 2013 MAC Championship game. The Oak Forest, Ill., native batted .298 and ranked second on the team with a .470 slugging percentage, while playing in all 57 games. Sheppard also was second on the team with 18 extra-base hits, including a team-best 12 doubles and five home runs.

Thumbnail image for Benson_Michael.JPG

Northern Illinois graduate student and Huskie Media Relations graduate assistant Michael Benson returns to ESPN UNITE: The Schwab Wednesday at 11 p.m. CT to take part in the semi-final round.

 
Benson will take on Mississippi's Ryan Smith, the Southeastern Conference's winner, and Penn State's Daniel Smith, the champion from the Big Ten. The winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Bristol, Conn., for the finals at ESPN's headquarters.
 
"The semi-finals should be quite a challenge," Benson said. "It was nice to get out of the first round with a win, but now the questions and the competition will be better. I've been doing what I can to prepare, but it ultimately comes down to getting questions that fit your strengths."
 
The sport management major clinched a berth in the semi-finals April 10 by winning the Mid-American Conference title over students from Central Michigan and Western Michigan. Benson got four points out of the first round, which asked the contestants to name the top 15 NFL career leaders in rushing yards. After stumbling on the pop culture question, he all but clinched the win by scoring five points in the college sports round question that asked contestants to name the members of the Pac-12 Conference.
 
"I really struggled in the pop culture and social media rounds the first time out," Benson said. "If I have any chance of moving on to the finals, I'll have to do considerably better in both of those categories."
 
The winner from the third semi-final will take on Michael Smith of Utah and Taylor Smith of Maryland.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

| | TrackBacks (0)
Baseball: The Huskies closed out their home schedule over the weekend with a three-game set against Eastern Michigan. NIU claimed the first game on Friday with a 2-1 win, securing them a spot in the MAC Tournament. The Eagles responded, though, with a 17-12 win on Saturday and a 12-7 triumph on Sunday.

Softball: Northern Illinois advanced to the MAC title game during the conference tournament, but fell just short of advancing to the NCAA Tournament. NIU started the tournament Wednesday with a 2-1 win over Miami (Ohio). Thursday, the Huskies defeated top-seeded Ball State, 3-1, before suffering their first loss of the tournament against Central Michigan, 5-0. The Huskies moved on to the championship game by eliminating BSU, 3-2, but lost in 11 innings to Central Michigan, 4-2.

Track & Field: NIU took 11th place at the MAC Outdoor Championships over the weekend. Janay Mitchell accounted for eight team points by finishing third in the 100 meters and seventh in the 200 meters. Meanwhile, Sidra Sherrill (shot put), Natalie Tarter (heptathlon) and Jamie Burr (800 meters) also scored points for the Huskies.

Condolences...

| | TrackBacks (0)
NIU Athletics would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of long-time NIU Football "Sound Guy" Rick Calderon, who passed away Wednesday, May 1, in DeKalb following a long illness.

Calderon, who retired from NIU in 2008, was a fixture at Northern Illinois home and away football games for many, many seasons. In addition to operating the public address and music systems during games, he was responsible for the coaches' headset communications both home and away. At head coach Joe Novak's request, Calderon would set up "music" (often the opposing teams' fight songs, crowd noise and band played on a loop) to be blared at footbal practice during the week to simulate the other team's stadium atmosphere. On road trips, he would spend time illustrating post cards which he would then send to his many friends.

Calderon graduated from Northern Illinois in 1982 and was active in designing, installing and maintaining audio/visual systems around campus in addition to working with the football team. Read much more on Calderon, here. A memorial service was held Wednesday, May 8, in DeKalb.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

| | TrackBacks (0)
Baseball: The Huskies cooled off somewhat during the opening stretch of May. After closing April with an 11-5 loss at Bradley, NIU got a 7-5 victory comeback win at UIC Wednesday. The Huskies opened their weekend MAC series at Toledo Friday with a win, shutting out the Rockets, 4-0. However, UT came back with a pair of wins, 6-3 on Saturday and 9-2 on Sunday, to take the series.

Softball: Northern Illinois closed their regular season and clinched the No. 4 seed in the MAC Tournament during the week. NIU began the week with a 2-0 loss at DePaul. However, the Huskies responded with four wins in their final home weekend of the year. On Friday, NIU claimed a doubleheader sweep of Toledo, winning 6-5 and 11-2. The Huskies shut out Bowling Green on Saturday, 3-0, then won in thrilling fashion on Sunday over the Falcons, 5-4.

Men's Golf: NIU ended their season Sunday by taking ninth place at the MAC Championships in Nashport, Ohio. Bryce Emory led the way by tying for 14th place.

Infogr.am - The Book on Eli

| | TrackBacks (0)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

| | TrackBacks (0)
Baseball: The Huskies earned their fifth consecutive MAC series win during the week. After dropping a 3-2 decision at Iowa Wednesday, NIU rebounded with a 3-1 win in the lid-lifter against Miami (Ohio) on Friday. On Saturday, Northern used a rally in the bottom of the ninth to claim a 4-3 win and the series. The RedHawks avoided the sweep on Sunday, though, with NIU falling by an 11-9 score.

Softball: Northern Illinois kept their MAC hot streak going with three wins over the weekend. Following a 5-4 loss to UIC on Wednesday, NIU split a doubleheader with Akron, topping the Zips 3-0 in game one before falling 7-5 in game two. The Huskies got back on the winning side Saturday with a 2-0 win over Ohio, followed by a 3-2 victory Sunday afternoon.

Track & Field: Northern Illinois closed out their regular season over the weekend with a busy three meet schedule. At the Penn Relays, the Huskies got a MAC auto bid from Sidra Sherrill in the shot put, while Janay Mitchell solidified her spot in the 100 meters. Meanwhile, NIU got strong showings at West Chester and UW-Whitewater.

Men's Tennis: Northern Illinois saw their season come to an end as they hosted the 2013 MAC tournament. The Huskies advanced to their first title match since 2004 when they upset No. 1 Ball State, 4-2, Friday. Their run ended Saturday, though, when they fell to Western Michigan, 4-3.

Women's Golf: NIU finished their season at the MAC Championships with an eighth place finish. Jenny Niemiec led the Huskies with a 26th place finish.

NIU ATHLETICS TO TAKE PART IN DENIM DAY

| | TrackBacks (0)
Everybody inside the NIU Athletic Department will be dressing a little less formal Wednesday, April 24, as they take part in "Denim Day." The initiative is hosted by the Victim Advocacy Services of the Women's Resource Center and Sexual Assault Awareness Month to honor victims and survivors of sexual assault.

Began in 1999 in Los Angeles, Denim Day has spread throughout the country as a way to fight back against sexual violence in the Untied States and across the world. The day also helps fight misconceptions about sexual assault.

For more information, visit DenimDayUSA.org.