2013 NIU Football: New Team, New Identity, Same High Expectations
The first Mid-American Conference team to earn a berth a Bowl Championship Series Bowl game, a second-straight MAC title, and a school record 12-game winning streak in 2012, there's a lot to be excited about Northern Illinois University football in 2013. Led by Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch, the Huskies return 16 starters from last season's MAC championship team.
Lynch put up some impressive numbers in his first full season as the starting quarterback. He became the first player in NCAA history to pass for more than 3,000 yards and rush for more than 1,800 yards. He led the nation with 12 100-yard games and scored 44 touchdowns. The Chicago native averaged 353.8 yards of total offense per game and accounted for 75.3 percent of the Huskies' offense in 2012. He did all this behind an offensive line that hadn't started a single game together prior to the 2012 season. All five offensive linemen are back in 2013.
Safety Jimmie Ward leads a defensive unit that was hit had by graduation. Defensive coordinator Jay Niemann will be looking for three defensive linemen and two linebackers during fall camp. Defensive tackle Ken Bishop, who finished the 2012 campaign strong, will anchor the Huskie front four, while two-year starter Jamaal Bass provides veteran leadership to the linebacking corps. With three starters, including Ward, Dechane Durante and Marlon Moore, the strongest unit on the NIU defense is the secondary. Northern Illinois opens the 2013 campaign at Iowa Aug. 31 with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. CT. The Huskies' first home game of the season is Sept. 21 against Eastern Illinois. Season and single game tickets are on sale now. Call 815-753-PACK or log on to NIUHuskies.com.