Jan. 4, 2012
The Huskies began their journey to their fourth-straight bowl appearance in the dark and cold of DeKalb at 6:30 a.m. When the wheels of the team charter touched down in Mobile, Ala., the team was greeted with brilliant sunshine, warmer temperatures and even a few Southern Belles.
After the players met with the Mobile media and local dignitaries, the travel party boarded the five buses. While the two buses carrying guests and administrative staff headed to the hotel, the Huskies went to work. With the aid of a police escort, the Northern Illinois University football team arrived at UMS Wright Prep for a spirited hour and a half workout.
After practicing in the cold and windy conditions for the better part of a month and a half, the sun and 60-degree temperatures were a welcome departure for the Huskies as they practiced in short sleeves and shorts for the first time since early October. The Huskies, who often listen to music during practice, opened practice fittingly with Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," which brought a smile to many of the GoDaddy.com Bowl officials in attendance.
After practice, the Huskies arrived at their team hotel, checked out their rooms and rested up before heading over to Ladd-Pebbles Stadium for the Welcome Dinner for both Northern Illinois and Arkansas State. Both teams were treated to a outstanding meal of Gulf Coast fare, including boiled shrimp, pulled pork, pulled turkey, corn on the cob and cole slaw. It makes your mouth water just thinking about it!
Players from both teams provided the entertainment for the evening as two players from each team took their shot at doing play-by-play in a friendly competition. Linebacker Jordan Delegal and offensive lineman Logan Pegramteamed up to call a few plays of the 2012 Orange Bowl. The Huskie duo wowed the crowd and took home the trophy.
Following dinner, the Huskies boarded the buses and returned to the hotel for a team meeting and one of the highlights of every bowl trip¬, collecting the bowl swag. This year's gifts include a leather travel bag, camera, watch, travel sweats and assorted gear.