July 23, 2014
DETROIT - The Northern Illinois University Huskies, who have made four consecutive trips to the Mid-American Conference Championship game as MAC West Division Champions, were picked to take second place in the division in 2014 as the MAC Preseason Football Poll was released Wednesday prior to the league's annual Media Day at Ford Field.
League media members tabbed Toledo as the preseason favorite in the West by four votes over NIU as the Rockets collected 114 points and 11 first-place votes to the Huskies' 110 points and eight first-place votes. Ball State earned 82 points, while Central Michigan picked up a pair of first-place votes and 67 points to take the No. 4 spot. Fifth-place Western Michigan (44 points) and Eastern Michigan (24) rounded out the West Division voting.
NIU Head Coach Rod Carey believes the Huskies' second-place spot will serve as motivation for the 2014 team.
"Anytime you are not picked first, it's motivating," Carey said. "It is a lot of motivation for the guys. I don't think I have to say anything, because they will hear about it from the media, fans and everyone."
Defending MAC Champions Bowling Green were the overall favorites to win the league and the East Division. The Falcons earned 144 points and 18 first-place votes, and were chosen as repeat winners of the Marathon MAC Championship game by 11 voters. Akron was tabbed as the No. 2 team in the East with 114 points and three first place votes. Ohio (107 points), Buffalo (87), Kent State (72), Miami (43) and UMass (23) were in the third through seventh spots, respectively, in the East.
Six voters chose Toledo to win the overall league title and championship game, while CMU was chosen by two voters. NIU and Akron picked up the two remaining MAC Championship votes. See the complete poll online at www.mac-sports.com.
NIU returns 16 starters and 45 letterwinners to the team that posted a 12-2 record a year ago and went to its fourth consecutive Marathon MAC Championship game and sixth consecutive bowl game. Nine starters, including four-fifths of the offensive line and 1,000-yard rusher Cameron Stingily, return on offense, while linebackers Jamaal Bass and Boomer Mays are the Huskies' top two returning tacklers.
The Huskies' 46 wins over the last four seasons are the second-highest total in the Football Bowl Subdivision. NIU takes a school and MAC record 26-game home stadium winning streak into the 2014 season opener versus Presbyterian on Thursday, Aug. 28th at 6 p.m. Players report for preseason camp on Friday, August 1 with practices underway August 2nd.
Season tickets offer the best value for the best seats at Huskie Stadium at a cost of just $110 for all five 2014 home games. Season ticket holders receive a gift and invitations to exclusive season ticket holder events in addition to the same seat for every game. Members of the NIU Alumni Association, senior citizens and NIU faculty and staff receive a $15 discount on every season ticket.
Season tickets, as well as single game tickets and away game tickets, can be purchased through the NIU Athletics Ticket Office in the NIU Convocation Center, online at NIUHuskies.com/tickets or by calling 815-753-PACK (7225).
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