Huskies Home Saturday Versus North Dakota

GO HUSKIES Tracy Wilson
Tracy Wilson

Sept. 7, 2010

NIU (0-1) vs. North Dakota (0-1)

Sept. 11, 2010 | 6 p.m. | Huskies All-Access
DeKalb, Ill. | Huskie Stadium | 24,000

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2010 Record/MAC Record: 0-1/0-0
2009 Record: 7-6
2009 MAC Record/Finish: 5-3/2nd, West Division
Head Coach: Jerry Kill
Alma Mater/Year: Southwestern (KS)/1983
Record at NIU/Years: 13-14/3rd
Career Record/Years: 117-71/17th
Basic Offense/Defense: Multiple/4-3
First Year of Football: 1899
All-Time Record: 501-458-51
Last Bowl Game: 2010 International Bowl (Toronto): USF 27, NIU 3
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 49/23
Starters Returning: 19 (6 Off., 11 Def., 2 Spec.)
Starters Lost: 7 (4 Off., 2 Def., 1 Spec.)

Location: DeKalb, Illinois
Founded: 1895
Enrollment: 24,397
Affiliation: NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision
Conference: Mid-American (West Division)
Colors: Cardinal and Black
Nickname: Huskies
Stadium: Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium
Surface/Capacity: Field Turf /24,000
President (Alma Mater, Year): Dr. John Peters (John Carroll '67)
Assoc. VP/Athletic Director: Jeff Compher
Alma Mater: James Madison '80
Ticket Information: 815-752-6800
Athletics Website:


2010 Record: 0-1
2009 Record/Conference Record/Finish: 6-5/2-2/2nd
Head Coach: Chris Mussman
Alma Mater/Year: Iowa State '91
Record at UND/Year: 12-10/Third
Career Record/Year: 12-10/Third
Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota
Enrollment: 13,172
Conference: Great West (FCS)
Colors: Kelly Green & White
Stadium: Alerus Center
Surface/Capacity: Astroturf/12,283
President: Dr. Robert Kelley
Athletic Director: Brian Faison
Ticket Information: 701-777-0855
Athletics Website:
FB Media Relations Contact: Christy Kramer
Phone: 701-777-4210 (O); 320-226-2420 (C)
E-Mail Address:


Overall: North Dakota leads 1-0
In DeKalb: First Meeeting
Streak: North Dakota, 1
Kill (Division I) vs. North Dakota: 0-0
Series History: Nov. 27, 1965; North Dakota 37, NIU 20
1965 Mineral Water Bowl (Excelsior Springs, Mo.)


NIU-North Dakota on Huskies All-Access
Northern Illinois' game vs. North Dakota will be streamed live on-line via Huskies All-Access, which is available at Fans will hear the Northern Illinois ISP Radio Broadcast of the game to accompany the camera production. (See more information below.)

On radio, fans can listen to the Northern Illinois-North Dakota game on the Huskies' flagship station, WLBK AM 1360 in DeKalb. In Chicago, this week's game will be heard on WYLL 1160 AM due to a White Sox conflict with the Huskies' usual Chicago radio home of WSCR 670 AM The Score. The broadcast kicks off with the pregame show at 5:30 p.m. Hall of Fame broadcaster Bill Baker is in his 31st season as the play-by-play voice of the Huskies and is joined by Mark Lindo, in his 26th year as NIU's color analyst, and fifth-year sideline reporter Casey Kahler.

"Inside Huskie Football" Radio Show
NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill joins host Bill Baker and other special guests on the "Inside Huskie Football" live radio show each Thursday from 7-8 p.m. during the 2010 season. The show takes place at Fatty's Pub & Grille on Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. Hear the show on WLBK 1360 AM DeKalb and on NIU-ISP Radio Network affiliate ESPN1380AM in Janesville, Wis. Future dates for the show are Sept. 9, 16, 23 and 30; Oct. 7, 14, 21 and 28; and Nov. 4, 11 and 18.

"NIU Live" Radio Show
Each week, join NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher, host Andy Garcia and Northern Illinois coaches for "NIU Live" on WSCR 670 AM The Score in Chicago. The 30-minute show features a weekly update with football coach Jerry Kill as well as interviews with other Huskie coaches and all the latest NIU Athletics news. Following are the air dates for the next four shows:
Thursday, Sept. 9 - 10:30-11 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 16 - 12-12:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 22 - 10-10:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 1 - 12-12:30 a.m.

Huskies All-Access
Fans across the country can hear all NIU live radio broadcasts, including football games and "Inside Huskie Football," and watch the North Dakota, Buffalo and Central Michigan games live on Huskies All-Access at All-Access subscribers pay just $6.95/month or $49.95/year to receive all NIU radio game and show broadcasts, as well as select football and all home men's and women's basketball, volleyball and men's and women's soccer games. Subscribers also have access to Coach Kill's weekly press conferences and special video features.
Get all of the latest NIU Athletics news and information, statistics, press releases and more online every day at, the official athletics website for Northern Illinois University.

Key Links

Jerry Kill enters his third season at Northern Illinois in 2010 and is in his 17th season as a collegiate head coach at four different universities. The Kansas native has led the Huskies to back-to-back bowl games, its first win over a Big Ten team in 21 years and a 13-14 record. Kill's 117-71-0 record as a head coach is good for a winning percentage of .622. Prior to NIU, he spent 14 years as head coach of programs at Saginaw Valley State (1994-98), Emporia State (1999-2000) and Southern Illinois (2001-07).

In his first stint as a collegiate head coach at Saginaw Valley State (Mich.) from 1994-98, his teams posted five consecutive winning seasons, a 38-14 overall record and were nationally-ranked in each of his final two years. After two seasons at Emporia State (Kans.), he moved on to Southern Illinois, where he led the Salukis to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs five times, including a trip to the FCS semifinals in 2007.

Southern Illinois went 55-32 during Kill's seven seasons at the helm. He was named the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year in 2004 following a 10-2 campaign, and won the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award in 2007 while leading SIU to a 12-2 record. Southern Illinois spent 64 straight weeks in the Top 20 between 2003 and 2007 and was ranked in the Top 10 for 12 consecutive weeks in 2007.

Kill began his collegiate coaching career at Kansas powerhouse Pittsburg State, beginning in 1985 with three seasons as the defensive coordinator. After spending the 1988 and '89 campaigns as the head coach at Webb City High School where the team won the 1989 state championship, he returned to PSU as offensive coordinator for the then NCAA Division II team. He picked up another championship as the Gorillas won the title in 1991 with a 13-1-1 record.

The Northern Illinois football program has achieved academically under Kill. In his two seasons at NIU, 50 football student-athletes have earned their degrees and the football team's most recent Academic Progress Rate of 975 ranks the Huskies 10th of all Division I schools in the country in eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes.


Home Opener
Northern Illinois opens its 2010 Huskie Stadium schedule versus North Dakota Saturday night after falling to Iowa State in the 2010 season opener on Thursday, Sept. 2 in Ames, Iowa. Kickoff for the contest - NIU's lone September home date - is set for 6:07 p.m. Jerry Kill's third Huskie team returns 19 starters and 49 letterwinners off the 2009 squad that finished the season with a 7-6 record and a spot in the International Bowl in Toronto, Canada.

Huskies and Fighting Sioux
NIU and North Dakota have met just once before on the football field as the Fighting Sioux handed the Huskies a 37-20 loss on Nov. 27, 1965 in the Mineral Water Bowl in Exelsior Springs, Mo. In that game 45 years ago, Northern Illinois turned the ball over eight times as North Dakota handed Howard Fletcher's Huskies their only loss of the 1965 season. UND led 21-20 at halftime on a missed NIU extra point, and Northern Illinois could not score after halftime while playing much of the game without starting quarterback Ron Christian due to injury.

Home Openers
Northern Illinois is 26-18 all-time in 44 Huskie Stadium home openers since 1966. NIU has won eight of its last 10 home openers, including each of the last two (over Indiana State and Western Illinois) under Jerry Kill.

Home Field Advantage
All-time, Northern Illinois is 135-97-2 at Huskie Stadium, which opened the same year - 1965 - that these teams last met. NIU owns a .579 winning percentage in games played at Huskie Stadium, including a 45-17 mark (a .726 winning percentage) in its last 62 home contests and a 29-11 record since 2003. Under Jerry Kill, Northern Illinois is 9-3 on Brigham Field, including a 5-1 record last year.

The Coach's Credentials
Jerry Kill is the only Northern Illinois coach to lead the Huskies to back-to-back bowl games in the "major college" era (since 1969) with trips to the Independence Bowl in 2008 and the International Bowl last season. Kill has posted a 13-14 record in two years at NIU, highlighted by the bowl trips and Northern Illinois' 28-21 victory over Purdue a year ago, NIU's second win over a Big Ten team all-time and the school's first Big Ten victory in 21 seasons.

Iowa State Review
Iowa State used a pair of rushing touchdowns by Alexander Robinson, including one on a 63-yard jaunt, and the passing of quarterback Austen Arnaud (26-of-36) to earn a 27-10 victory over the Huskies in the 2010 season opener. ISU built a 17-0 halftime lead, before the Huskies narrowed the deficit to 17-10 on a DeMarcus Grady one-yard sneak with 8:51 left in the game. The Cyclones scored on their next possession, though, and NIU was unable to mount a late rally.

The September 11th North Dakota game will be the 1,011th game in Northern Illinois history and the Huskies will be looking for their 502nd victory all-time. NIU played its 1,000th game and won its 500th, last season and has a 501-458-51 all-time record for a winning percentage of .521. Over the last decade (2000-09), Northern Illinois posted a 68-53 record (.562) with eight winning campaigns.

FCS Foes
Over the last 14 seasons, Northern Illinois has played 13 games against teams from the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) and posted an 8-5 record in those games. The Huskies have been extremely successful versus FCS foes of late with seven wins in its last 10 meetings with FCS teams dating back to 2000.

Non-Conference Slate
NIU will open the 2010 regular season with four straight non-conference games before beginning MAC play Oct. 2 at Akron. Following Saturday's game at North Dakota, the Huskies will take on Illinois and Minnesota of the Big Ten on Sept. 18 and Sept. 25, respectively. Under Jerry Kill, NIU is 3-6 in non-conference games with three of the losses by four points or less.

Coaching Continuity
One secret to Kill's success has been the continuity on his coaching staff. His two coordinators - Tracy Claeys on defense and Matt Limegrover on offense - have been with Kill for 14 and 10 years, respectively, and the nine full-time assistant coaches average nine years on Kill's staff. Add Director of Sports Performance Eric Klein, who qualifies as Kill's longest-tenured assistant as they have been together for 15 years at four schools, and the average jumps to 9.7. Kill brought seven of his assistant coaches and Klein with him from Southern Illinois, with defensive line coach Jeff Phelps now the only holdover from Joe Novak's staff.

Coach Z
With his track record of keeping coaches, Kill was thrilled to be able to bring Division III Offensive Coordinator of the Year Jim Zebrowski on board as the Huskies' quarterbacks coach when an opening came up on the staff last February. Zebrowski, who most recently won a pair of NCAA Division III national championships as the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Kill have known each other since the latter arrived at Southern Illinois, although Zebrowski left the school before Kill arrived. With Zebrowski's arrival as quarterbacks coach, Pat Poore has moved over to tutor the NIU wide receivers.

Leading the Way
Leading the way at tailback for the Huskies is senior Chad Spann, one of 49 candidates for the 2010 Doak Walker Award. A preseason All-MAC pick who joined a long list of Northern Illinois 1,000-yard rushers a year ago, Spann scored 19 rushing touchdowns to lead the MAC and tie the NIU single season record for rushing scores. Spann was a first-team All-MAC performer last year who currently ranks 24th at NIU all-time in rushing yards and has 28 total touchdowns in 26 games over the last two seasons.

Spanning the Charts
Tailback Chad Spann had a solid start to his senior season with 80 rushing yards on 17 carries and three catches for 14 yards. Spann's 80 rushing yards moved him up from 23rd to 21st on the Northern Illinois all-time rushing chart as he now stands just eight yards behind No. 20 A.J. Harris with 1,608 career yards on 295 carries. Spann passed former teammate Justin Anderson and William Andrews with his efforts at Iowa State. Just ahead of Harris are No. 19 Jerry Latin (1,651 yards) and No. 18 Rodney Taylor (1,685) Spann also needs just five more carries to qualify for the career record in yards per carry. His current average of 5.45 yards per carry would put him fourth on that list.

Grady's Day
Junior quarterback DeMarcus Grady made his sixth career start at Iowa State, out-playing fellow junior Chandler Harnish and redshirt freshman Jordan Lynch during preseason practices to earn the starting nod. Grady ran for 54 yards on 14 carries with a rushing touchdown, and posted single game career highs for both completions (14) and attempts (29). He completed 10-of-15 passes in the first half and hit Willie Clark on a 22-yard completion in the third quarter.

A Little Misleading
The Huskies' starting line-up on defense at Iowa State included just six returning starters from 2009 and 2008 starter Mike Krause. Although the 2010 NIU team includes 11 players who started at least six games for the Huskies in either 2008 or 2009 (including Krause, who missed all of last season with a heart ailment), NIU opened this year without linebacker Pat Schiller or cornerback Patrick George, while free safety Mike Sobol played in a reserve role after coming off of spring knee surgery.

First-Time and One-Time Starters
As a result, the Northern Illinois starting defense featured a pair of first-time starters in middle linebacker Devon Butler and free safety Tommy Davis, and two more players who came into the game with just one career start each - cornerback Kiaree Daniels and weakside linebacker Tyrone Clark. On offense, three of the Huskies' five offensive linemen made their starting debuts with sophomore Logan Pegram and juniors Scott Wedige and Keith Otis earning the first extended playing time of their careers at left guard, center and right tackle, respectively. In addition, wide receivers Nathan Palmer (4 starts) and Martel Moore (2) owned less than five career starts apiece when they took the field last week.

New Huskies
Ten players who had never seen action in a game for Northern Illinois before took the field versus Iowa State. The group included senior transfer Michael Cklamovski at kicker, junior college transfers Demetrius Stone and Jasmin Hopkins, true freshmen Jimmie Ward, Joe Windsor, Akeem Daniels and Mathew Sims and redshirt freshmen Matt Krempel, Jared Volk and Stephen O'Neal. Illinois transfer Cklamovski, a law school student at NIU, handled kickoffs and attempted a pair of field goals, and Sims converted on a PAT and hit a 19-yard field goal. Stone saw action in the NIU nickel package and made a pair of tackles, while Hopkins gained 22 yards on five carries and caught a six-yard pass.

Second-Half Defense
The Northern Illinois defense came back after a slow start last week to assert itself in the second half versus Iowa State. On the ground, NIU held the Cyclones to just 28 rushing yards on 20 second-half carries for just over one yard per attempt. Overall, Iowa State gained only 124 yards of total offense in the second half. The Huskies also forced three turnovers on the day, tying their 2009 season high.

The Wilson Plan
NIU junior strong safety Tracy Wilson, who led the Huskies in tackles with 93 a year ago, picked up where he left off with a team-leading 10 stops, six solo, and his first career interception at Iowa State. Last year, Wilson led Northern Illinois in tackles in six games and had double-digit tackle totals three times while playing more snaps than any other Huskie defender. Wilson's 26-yard interception return at Iowa State set up NIU's field goal attempt at the end of the first half.

Follow the Leaders
Prior to the 2010 season opener, Northern Illinois Head Coach Jerry Kill introduced the Huskies' 2010 Leadership Council, the group of players selected by the NIU team to serve as liaisons for the players to the coaching staff and perform additional leadership functions. Members of the Leadership Council for 2010 are: Jake Coffman (Sr., DE), Alex Kube (Sr., LB), Tracy Wilson (Jr., FS), Trevor Olson (Jr., OT), Ricky Crider (Sr., TB), Landon Cox (Sr., WR) and Jason Schepler (Jr., TE) along with all five Huskie quarterbacks - Jordan Lynch (Fr.), A.J. Hill (Fr.), Casey Weston (Jr.), Chandler Harnish (Jr.) and DeMarcus Grady (Jr.). Players in this group will serve as team captains during the Huskies' games this season.

Coffman Returns
One of the top recruits for NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill and recruiting coordinator/defensive line coach Jeff Phelps heading into this season was not a newcomer at all. After announcing his "retirement" from college football following the 2010 International Bowl, defensive end Jake Coffman came to Kill in May and asked if he could re-join the team. Coffman completed his bachelor's degree in the spring, but with the encouragement of his dad, decided to return to "finish" what he had started with the Huskies football team. The 26-year-old Marine Corps veteran brings, experience, leadership and proven credentials to the defensive line after leading the team with 13.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and five pass break ups to earn all-MAC honors last season.

A Senior with Class
Coffman's story, his commitment to not only the NIU football program but to his country and his community through volunteer efforts, has made him one of just 30 candidates for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. The award, whose name stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, honors seniors who have achieved in the areas of community, classroom, character and competition. Last year, Coffman was honored as the 2009 Male Athlete of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus.

Academic Achievement
NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill is justifiably proud of the academic accomplishments of his team, topped by the 50 football players who have earned their bachelor's degrees in the past two years under Kill. In addition, the football team's Academic Progress Rate (APR), the instrument used by the NCAA to measure the eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes, ranks tied for 10th in the country among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools. NIU's 975 APR put it in elite company with schools like Air Force, Rice, Duke, Vanderbilt and Stanford.

Huskies in the NFL
As of Saturday, Sept. 4, there are six Huskies listed on NFL active rosters entering the 2010 season. The group is led by 2008 NIU senior Larry English, who became the highest NFL Draft choice in school history when he was selected with the 16th pick of the first round by the San Diego Chargers. English enters his second season in the league in 2010. He is joined by running backs Garrett Wolfe (Chicago Bears) and Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons), offensive linemen Ryan Diem (Indianapolis Colts) and Doug Free (Dallas Cowboys), and receiver Sam Hurd (Dallas Cowboys). In addition, fullback/tight end Jake Nordin is listed on injured reserve for the Detroit Lions.

Rehab Results
Senior safety Mike Sobol returned to the field versus Iowa State, just four months after surgery to repair a torn left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Sobol was allowed to practice on a limited basis three-and-a-half months after surgery and was given the "full go" two weeks later. He came back nearly two months sooner than "normal," according to NIU football trainer Kammy Powell. Sobol and Powell averaged two-plus hours of rehab per day and Powell attributed his early return to an impeccable work ethic and the fact that he did exactly what NIU athletic trainers and medical professionals advised. Sobol, a 20-game starter over the last two years, made three tackles and played most of the second half at Iowa State.

Youth is Served
Northern Illinois lists 30 freshmen and sophomores on its current depth chart on offense and defense with 19 on the defensive side of the ball. There are five first-year Huskies on the offensive two-deep - receivers Da'Ron Brown and Akeem Daniels, offensive linemen Matt Battaglia and Tyler Loos, and junior tailback Jasmin Hopkins. The NIU defensive depth chart includes seven 2010 newcomers, with four linebackers (Greg Barksdale, Jamaal Bass, Cameron Stingily, Mike Hellams), joined by defensive end Joe Windsor, and safeties Jimmie Ward and sophomore Demetrius Stone. In addition to the newcomers, eight redshirt freshmen - four on offense and four on defense - are listed on the Huskies' two-deep.

Experience Counts
On the other end of the spectrum are eight Huskies who have played in 30-plus games for Northern Illinois, with senior long snapper Nolan Owen leading the list with 39 games played. Cornerback Patrick George, Landon Cox, Alex Kube and Chad Spann are next on the experience list with appearances in 37 games apiece. Tailback Ricky Crider (34), fullback Kyle Skarb (33) and defensive tackle D.J. Pirkle (33) are the other 30-game guys on the 2010 roster. Another six Huskies have played in 25 or more games.

Preseason Predictions
Northern Illinois has been a popular choice to win the MAC West Division by the pollsters this preseason as the Mid-American Conference Preseason Poll, USA Today, Athlon, Sporting News, CBS, and Sports Illustrated, among others, have tabbed the Huskies as the MAC West favorites. The last time NIU was picked to win the West was in 2006 during Garrett Wolfe's senior season. The Huskies were also named as one of the top 50 teams in the country by Sporting News and Phil Steele's Magazine.

Krause Returns
In addition to Jake Coffman, Northern Illinois' defensive line has benefitted from the return of senior noseguard Mike Krause. Krause was forced to sit out the 2009 season due to a medical condition, but started all 13 games for the Huskies and made 20 tackles in 2008. Coffman, Krause and senior defensive tackle D.J. Pirkle give NIU three seniors on the starting defensive line.

Kicking Question
One of the biggest voids entering 2010 was left by kicker Mike Salerno, a two-year starter who also handled half of the punting duties over the past two seasons. Versus Iowa State, newcomers Mathew Sims and Michael Cklamovski shared the kicking duties with Cklamovski booting two of his three kickoffs into the end zone and Sims, opening his NIU career by hitting a 19-yard field goal and a PAT. Cklamovski is a senior graduate student who transferred to NIU after playing three seasons at the University of Illinois. The NIU law school student saw action as the kickoff man for the Illini during his time in Champaign.

Hidden Gems
Jerry Kill has continued an NIU tradition of turning non-scholarship players into contributors and starters with many of those players earning scholarships. Ten players on the Huskies' current depth chart, including starters Chad Spann (TB), Jason Schepler (TE), Jake Coffman (DE) and Sean Progar (DE) came to Northern Illinois as walk-ons. Key contributors Willie Clark (WR), Connor Flahive (FB), Jack Marks (TE) and Rashaan Melvin (CB) are also former walk-ons as are specialists Michael Cklamovski (K) and Ryan Neir (P).

Up Next
Saturday's home game versus North Dakota is the Huskies' only appearance at Huskie Stadium in the first five games of the 2010 campaign. After Saturday, NIU hits the road for games at Illinois (Sept. 18), Minnesota (Sept. 25) and Akron (Oct. 2).



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