Northern Illinois Takes on UT Martin in Huskie Stadium Opener

GO HUSKIES Northern Illinois running back Keith Harris, Jr. (20) celebrates with wide receiver Perez Ashford (7) after scoring a touchdown.
Northern Illinois running back Keith Harris, Jr. (20) celebrates with wide receiver Perez Ashford (7) after scoring a touchdown.
Complete Release in PDF Format

Northern Illinois Football 2012
Game 2 - UT Martin (1-0) at Northern Illinois (0-1)
Sept. 8, 2012 | 6 p.m. | ESPN3 | DeKalb, Ill. | Huskie Stadium | 24,000

2012 Record: 0-1
2011 Record: 11-3
2011 MAC (Regular Season) Record/Finish: 7-1/1st West
Head Coach: Dave Doeren
Record at NIU/Years: 11-4/2nd
Career Record/Years: 11-4/2nd
Alma Mater/Year: Drake/1994
Basic Offense/Defense: Multiple/4-3
First Year of Football: 1899
All-Time Record: 523-464-51
Last Bowl Game: 2012; NIU 38, Arkansas State 20
MAC Championship Game Appearances: 3 (last, 2011, 23-20 W)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 49/24
Starters Returning: 18 (4 offense, 10 defense, 4 specialists)
Starters Lost: 11 (7 offense, 4 defense, 0 specialists)


Location: DeKalb, Illinois
Founded: 1895
Enrollment: 23,850
Affiliation: NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision
Conference: Mid-American (West Division)
Colors: Cardinal and Black
Nickname: Huskies
Stadium: Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium
Surface/Capacity: FieldTurf /24,000
President (Alma Mater, Year): Dr. John Peters (John Carroll `67)
Assoc. VP/Athletic Director: Jeff Compher
Alma Mater, Year: James Madison `80
Ticket Information: 815-752-6800

The Top Ten

1 - Northern Illinois has won 15 straight games at Huskie Stadium, dating back to a 34-31 loss to Idaho on Sept. 26, 2009.

2 - NIU is coming off a narrow 18-17 defeat versus Iowa in Soldier Field Showdown III in Chicago as the Hawkeyes scored their lone touchdown of the game with 2:15 to play.

3 - Northern Illinois entered that game with an offensive line that had ZERO career starts, but out-gained Iowa on the ground (147-139) in the game.

4 - The Huskies lead the nation in quarterback sacks after collecting six versus the Hawkeyes.

5 - Huskie defensive end Sean Progar was named the Mid-American Conference West Division Defensive Player of the Week with a sack and four tackles versus Iowa.

6 - Junior Jordan Lynch ran for 119 yards on 18 carries in his debut as NIU's starting QB, including a 73-yard touchdown run.

7 - The Huskies are one of 10 FBS programs to win at least 11 games in each of the last two years. 8 - Over the last 10 years, Northern Illinois is the winningest program in the Mid-American Conference (78-50, a 60.9 winning percentage) and leads all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the state of Illinois since 2002.

9 - Head coach Dave Doeren enters his second season at the helm of the NIU program after posting the best record by a first-year coach in school history.

10 - Northern Illinois' 2011 Mid-American Conference Championship was the school's first MAC football title in 28 years (since 1983).

2012 Record: 1-0
2011 Record: 5-6
OVC Record/Finish: 4-4/5th (Tie)
Head Coach: Jason Simpson (Southern Miss/1995)
Record at UTM/Years: 38-31/7th
Career Record/Years: 38-31/7th
Location: Martin, Tennessee
Enrollment: 8,400
Conference: Ohio Valley (Division I FCS)
Colors: Navy Blue and Orange
Stadium: Hardy M. Graham Stadium
Surface/Capacity: FieldTurf /7,500
Chancellor: Dr. Tom Rakes
Athletic Director: Phil Dane
Athletics Website:
Twitter/Facebook: @UTMSports/UT Martin Athletics
Ticket Information: 731-881-7207


First Meeting

In his first season as head coach of the Northern Illinois University football program, Dave Doeren and his Huskies achieved milestones rarely reached over the course of a career, let alone a single season. Doeren's first year at the helm of a program saw NIU win the school's first Mid-American Conference Championship since 1983, triumph in the Bowl and close out the year with nine straight victories en route to tying the school record with 11 wins. Doeren became the winningest first-year head coach in school history.

A 17-year collegiate coaching veteran who helped take teams to eight bowl games and two national championship contests as an assistant coach at Wisconsin (2006-10), Kansas (2002-05), Montana (2000-01), USC (1998-99) and Drake (1995-97), Doeren was named the 21st head football coach in NIU history on Dec. 13, 2010.

Doeren came to NIU after completing his fifth season at Wisconsin in 2010 at the Rose Bowl where the Big Ten champion and 11-2 Badgers met TCU. After spending his first two seasons in Madison as the Badgers' co-defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator, he added defensive coordinator duties in January 2008. During Doeren's time at Wisconsin, the Badgers posted a 49-16 overall record and played in the Champs Sports (twice), Outback and Capital One bowls. At Wisconsin, Doeren's defenses were consistently ranked in the top 25 in the nation; while there he coached current National Football League defenders Jonathan Casillas (Saints), DeAndre Levy (Lions) and J.J. Watt (Texans).

Doeren arrived at UW after four seasons (2002-05) at the University of Kansas. He was the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator for three seasons at KU before being promoted to co-defensive coordinator in 2005. Prior to his time at Kansas, Doeren coached the secondary at NCAA FCS power Montana for two seasons. Montana won the I-AA national championship in 2001 and went 28-3 with two conference titles in his time there.

He started his college coaching career as an assistant at Drake from 1995-97 where he coached linebackers, before becoming defensive coordinator in 1997. A four-year letterwinner at Drake (1990-93), Doeren earned Academic All-America honors as a senior and graduated with a bachelor's degree in pre-medical biology and a master's in educational leadership.


NIU vs. UT Martin broadcast
-- NIU's game versus UT Martin can be seen live online exclusively on
-- Jim Barbar will handle play-by-play with Bob Chmiel alongside as color analyst.

NIU vs. UT Martin on radio
-- The Northern Illinois IMG Sports Network broadcast begins 30 minutes before kickoff.
-- NIU network affiliates in 2012 are: WLBK 1360 AM (DeKalb), WSCR 670 AM (Chicago), WTJK 1380 AM (Janesville, Wis.) and WYLL 1160 AM (Chicago)* alternate Chicago station
-- WYLL 1160 AM is the Chicago station for the NIU-UTM game
-- Bill Baker is in his 32nd season as the play-by-play voice of the Huskies. He is joined by 27-year color analyst Mark Lindo and 6-year sideline reporter Casey Kahler.

"Inside Huskie Football" Radio Show
-- Thursdays from 7-8 p.m. (Central)
-- Sept. 6, 13, 20, 27; Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25; Nov. 1, 8, 20
-- Airs on WLBK 1360 AM (DeKalb), WTJK 1380 AM (Janesville)
-- NIU Head Coach Dave Doeren, two Huskie players and an NIU Athletics special guest will join us live each week at Cabana Charley's on Peace Rd. in Sycamore, Ill.
-- The public is invited

"NIU Weekly" Radio Show
-- Weekly 30 minute show highlighting the best of Huskie Athletics
-- Airs Saturday mornings on WSCR 670 AM (Chicago)
-- Hosted by Andy Garcia and NIU Associate Vice-President/Director of Athletics Jeff Compher
-- Features a weekly interview with football head coach Dave Doeren, other NIU head coaches and the latest Huskie news

Huskies All-Access
-- Hear all NIU live radio broadcasts, including football and basketball games, Inside Huskie Football
-- Watch live Huskie games, including the UMass football game, volleyball, soccer, basketball, wrestling and gymnastics
-- Also see weekly and post-game press conferences, video features and special events (Signing Day) streamed live.
-- Cost is $6.95/month or $49.95/year
-- Go to

Getting Social
-- On Twitter: @NIUAthletics, @NIUScores, @PrideinthePack
-- On Facebook: NIU Huskies, Northern Huskie
-- On YouTube: niuhuskiesdotcom
-- See NIU Athletics' social media hub online to see all of our coaches' and teams' Facebook and Twitter accounts


OPENING DAY, PART II: Northern Illinois opens its six-game Huskie Stadium home schedule, and plays the first of three September games in DeKalb, when first-time opponent the University of Tennessee at Martin comes to town.

AT THE GAME: The Huskie Stadium opener is Band Day on the Northern Illinois campus with several high school bands featured during the halftime show. In addition, there will be a postgame fireworks display. The first 3,000 fans at the game will receive a red "We Are Huskies" T-shirt.

HAPPY AT HOME: NIU looks to extend its school-record 15-game winning streak at Huskie Stadium to 16 games. versus UT Martin. The Huskies have not lost a game in DeKalb since Sept. 26, 2009 (vs. Idaho). Northern Illinois has won 12 straight Mid-American Conference games at home, dating to a 33-30 overtime loss to Central Michigan on Nov. 12, 2008.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: With a 40-11 mark at Huskie Stadium since 2003, NIU has raised its all-time record in the facility to 146-97-2 for a .600 winning percentage all-time. NIU's Huskie Stadium winning percentage of .784 since 2002 ranks the Huskies in the Top 21 in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

BACK-TO-BACK: Northern Illinois is one of 10 FBS programs to win at least 11 games in each of the last two years, joining Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, TCU, Boise State, Oregon, Stanford, LSU and Alabama. NIU and Stanford are the only teams whose 11-win seasons came under different head coaches.

FCS SUCCESS: Northern Illinois, which moved up to the "major college" ranks in 1969, has enjoyed success versus opponents in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) this decade with a 10-2 mark since 2000. NIU's last loss to an FCS school was a 34-31 decision to Southern Illinois in 2007.

FAMILIARITY: NIU Co-Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Line Coach Ryan Nielsen came to Northern Illinois with Dave Doeren a year ago after spending the 2010 campaign at UT Martin, where he was defensive line coach and special teams coordinator.

PROGAR HONORED: Huskie senior defensive end Sean Progar (Glenview, Ill.) picked up MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honors after leading an NIU defense that pressured Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg throughout the game. Progar earned the second MAC Weekly honor of his career with four tackles and a quarterback sack.

NUMBER ONE: After sacking Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg six times for minus 57 yards, the Northern Illinois defense ranks FIRST in the nation in quarterback sacks. NIU's sacks were recorded by six different players, with LB Victor Jacques, CB Sean Evans and junior college transfer DT Ken Bishop each recording their first career sacks.

WELCOME BACK: Northern Illinois senior linebacker Tyrone Clark enjoyed a successful return to the field with 11 tackles, including one for loss, and a pass break-up versus Iowa. The emotional leader of the Huskie defense, even during last season while sitting out and playing on the scout team, Clark went over the 100-tackle mark for his career with Saturday's performance.

500 PERCENT MORE: Northern Illinois went into the Iowa game with the least experienced offensive line in the country as every player in the Huskies' front five made his first career start at Soldier Field. The quintet of center Andrew Ness, guards Aidan Conlon and Tyler Pitt and tackles Matt Krempel and Tyler Loos will bring 500 percent more experience into the UT Martin game.

FRESH FACES: Four true freshmen and six redshirt freshmen made their NIU debuts last week. The true freshmen were led by tailback Keith Harris, Jr., who scored a seven-yard rushing touchdown on his first career carry. DE Perez Ford, CB Marlon Moore and TE Desroy Maxwell also played in the game, primarily on special teams. Redshirt freshmen offensive linemen Aidan Conlon and Andrew Ness started the game, while Killian came in at offensive guard. Redshirt Boomer Mays rotated in at middle linebacker while Rasheen Lemon saw time at outside linebacker and CB Paris Logan played on special teams.

268 OR LESS: Iowa gained just 268 yards versus the Huskies Saturday, with 139 rushing and 129 through the air. The Hawkeyes ran 82 plays, but averaged just 3.3 yards per play. A year ago, only one NIU opponent (Kent State) was held to less than 268 yards.

LINEBACKER, TAILBACK, QUARTERBACK: Quarterback Jordan Lynch, who Dave Doeren described in the preseason as "a linebacker" playing quarterback, ran like a tailback Saturday versus Iowa as he tallied the third 100-yard rushing day of his career in his first career start. Lynch gained 119 yards on 18 carries, highlighted by a 73-yard touchdown run. Lynch outran multiple Iowa defenders on the play, which was opened up by an Aidan Conlon block.

STILL SPECTACULAR: NIU senior receiver Martel Moore added to his highlight reel with another spectacular catch. Moore made a diving, over-the-shoulder grab of a Lynch aerial in the second quarter to set up a Northern Illinois field goal. The 25-yard catch was part of a three-catch, 39-yard receiving day for the Texan.

WATCH LISTER: For the second consecutive season, Huskie DE Sean Progar was named to the preseason watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award, presented to the nation's top lineman/linebacker. The senior made a career high 52 tackles, 22 solo, a year ago with 11 tackles for loss and 5.5 quarterback sacks. In 40 career games, Progar has 121 tackles, 29 tackles for loss and 15.5 quarterback sacks.

SERVICE MAN: Tight end Jason Schepler is one of 117 nominees for the 2012 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®. Schepler didn't let a season-ending injury slow his community involvement as he tallies at least 14 hours of community service projects per semester. A member of NIU's Leadership Council, he also excels in the classroom, maintaining a 3.85 grade point average in electrical engineering.

NOT SO IRRELEVANT: Chandler Harnish went from setting 30 Northern Illinois records and winning the MAC's Vern Smith Award as league MVP a year ago to becoming the NFL's "Mr. Irrelevant" when he was the 253rd and final pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Drafted by his home state Indianapolis Colts, Harnish was feted in California at the annual Mr. Irrelevant festivities. Entering week one, Harnish has made the Colts as the team's No. 3 quarterback.

FIRST TEAMER: Kicker Mathew Sims is the only returning Huskie who was named to the first team All Mid-American Conference squad a year ago. Sims set the school record for kick scoring, PATs made and PATs attempted as a sophomore. He made a pair of game-winning field goals, including one versus Ohio to win the Mid-American Conference Championship on the final play. The Huskies return all of their specialists in 2012.

RECEIVING VOTES: For the second consecutive preseason, Northern Illinois was mentioned in the "Also Receiving Votes" section of both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls. NIU earned one vote in the AP poll and two points in the USA Today rankings. The Huskies finished 2011 ranked 28th and 26th, respectively by AP and USA Today, the second straight year Northern Illinois ended up in the Top 30. NIU was the only MAC team to earn preseason votes.

NAME CHANGE: Northern Illinois' 2012 roster includes three (unrelated) Moores and three Browns with DBs Marlon (CB) and Tre' (S) Moore, expected to see action this season, not to be confused with receiver Martel. On the offensive line, NIU features both Ryan and Ron, the latter a freshman who was in danger of being mixed up with receiver Da'Ron Brown. That's because Ron Brown, a Detroit native, came to NIU as Daron Brown. During a photo shoot for freshmen this past June, Daron (OL) decided to avoid confusion, he would be known as simply Ron.

NEXT: Northern Illinois plays its first road game of the season as the Huskies travel to West Point, N.Y. to take on Army on Sept. 17. The 11 a.m. (CT) game will air on the CBS Sports Network.



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