Northern Illinois Opens MAC Play at Central Michigan

GO HUSKIES Pat Schiller
GO HUSKIES
Pat Schiller
GO HUSKIES

Sept. 27, 2011

Complete Release in PDF Format

2011 NORTHERN ILLINOIS HUSKIES FOOTBALL
Northern Illinois (2-2, 0-0) at Central Michigan (1-3, 0-1)
Oct. 1, 2011 | 2:30 p.m. | ESPN3
Mt. Pleasant, Mich. | Kelly-Short Stadium | 30,255

HUSKIE FOOTBALL FACTS
2011 Record/MAC Record: 2-2/0-0
2010 Record: 11-3
MAC (Regular Season) Record/Finish: 8-0/1st, West Division
Head Coach: Dave Doeren
Record at NIU & Career Record: 2-2/First Year
Alma Mater/Year: Drake/1994
Basic Offense/Defense: Multiple/4-3
First Year of Football: 1899
All-Time Record: 514-462-51
Last Bowl Game: NIU 40, Fresno State 17
2010 uDrove Humanitarian Bowl; Boise, Idaho
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 47/25
Starters Returning: 11 (8 offense, 3 defense, 0 specialists)
Starters Lost: 13 (4 offense, 9 defense, 3 specialists)

NORTHERN ILLINOIS FACTS
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
Website: www.NIUHuskies.com
Twitter: @NIUAthletics

2011 NIU SCHEDULE

CENTRAL MICHIGAN FACTS
2011 Record/MAC Record: 1-3/0-1
2010 Record/Conference Record/Finish: 3-9/2-6/T5th-West
Head Coach: Dan Enos
Alma Mater/Year: Michigan State '91
Record at CMU/Year: 4-12/2nd
Career Record/Year: 4-12/2nd
Location: Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
Enrollment: 26,354
Conference: Mid-American
Colors: Maroon & Gold
Stadium: Kelly/Shorts Stadium
Surface/Capacity: FieldTurf/30,255
President: Dr. George Ross
Athletic Director: Dave Heeke
Ticket Information: 1-888-347-3872
Athletics Website: www.cmuchippewas.com

2011 CMU SCHEDULE

SERIES HISTORY
Overall: CMU leads 24-21-1
In Mt. Pleasant: CMU leads 15-8
In MAC Games: NIU leads 13-12
Streak: NIU, 1

NIU HEAD COACH Dave Doeren
Dave Doeren, a 16-year collegiate coaching veteran who has helped take teams to eight bowl games and two national championship contests, was named the 21st head football coach in NIU history on Dec. 13, 2010. After winning his first game as the head coach of the Huskies, Doeren's career and NIU record now stands at 2-2. Doeren came to NIU after five seasons at Wisconsin. After spending two seasons 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 Bowl (twice), Outback Bowl and Capital One Bowl. In 2010, UW posted an 11-2 record, won a share of the Big Ten title and played TCU in the 2011 Rose Bowl. Doeren's UW defenses were consistently ranked in the top 25 in the nation and while there he coached players like current National Football League linebackers Jonathan Casillas of the New Orleans Saints and DeAndre Levy of the Detroit Lions. Most recently, defensive end J.J. Watt was selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Doeren arrived at UW after four seasons (2002-05) at the University of Kansas. He was the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator for his first three seasons 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. He and his wife, Sara, have three sons - Jacob, Luke and Connor.

HUSKIE MULTIMEDIA
WATCH NIU-CMU ON ESPN3
Northern Illinois' game at Central Michigan on Oct. 1 can be seen on ESPN3, ESPN's live sports broadband network that is currently available in approximately 80 million homes nationwide, as well as on internet-ready TVs, smart phones, tablets and computers. ESPN3 is available at no additional cost to millions of fans who receive their high-speed internet connection/cable subscription from an affiliated service provider. In addition, ESPN3 is available FREE to 21 million U.S. college students and U.S. based military personnel. For more information, go to WatchESPN.com. Dan Gutowsky will handle the play-by-play call of the CMU-NIU game for ESPN3 with Bob Chmiel on color commentary.

LISTEN TO NIU-CMU on THE NIU RADIO NETWORK
The Northern Illinois Radio Network, presented by IMG College, will bring Huskie fans live game action on these stations in 2011:

WLBK AM 1360 (DeKalb) - FLAGSHIP
WTJK ESPN 1380 AM (Janesville, WI-Rockford)
WJOL 1340 AM (Joliet)
WSCR670 AM The Score (Chicago)

Each week, the broadcast kicks off with the pregame show 30 minutes prior to kick off. Hall of Fame broadcaster Bill Baker is in his 32nd season as the play-by-play voice of the Huskies and is joined by Mark Lindo, in his 27th year as NIU's color analyst, and sixth-year sideline reporter Casey Kahler.

"Inside Huskie Football" Radio Show
NIU Head Coach Dave Doeren joins host Bill Baker and other special guests on the "Inside Huskie Football" radio show each Thursday from 7-8 p.m. during the 2011 season. The show takes place live at Cabana Charley's in Sycamore and fans are invited to attend. Hear the show live on WLBK 1360 AM DeKalb and on NIU Radio Network affiliate ESPN1380AM in Janesville, Wis. The 2011 dates for the show are Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27; and Nov. 3, 10 and 22.

"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 interview with head football coach Dave Doeren as well as interviews with other Huskie coaches and all the latest NIU Athletics news. Hear the show at 10 p.m. on Sept. 29, and beginning in October, every Saturday morning from 7:30-8 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 Cal Poly, Kent State and Western Michigan games live on Huskies All-Access at www.NIUHuskies.com. 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 basketball, volleyball and men's and women's soccer games. Subscribers also have access to Coach Doeren's weekly press conferences and special video features.

NIU NEWS & NOTES

MAC Meeting in Mt. Pleasant
Northern Illinois opens defense of its Mid-American Conference West Division title versus Central Michigan in Mt. Pleasant on Saturday. The Huskies, who posted a perfect 8-0 record in regular season league play a year ago, closed out their 2011 non-conference slate with a 47-30 home victory over Cal Poly last week.

Conference Openers
Northern Illinois opens its 26th overall season of Mid-American Conference play this Saturday. The Huskies are in their 15th season of their second stint in the MAC after originally playing in the league from 1975-85. NIU is 9-16 all-time in MAC openers, with a 5-9 mark since rejoining the league in 1997. Northern Illinois has won each of its last two MAC openers with a 50-14 victory over Akron a year ago and a 38-3 win over Western Michigan at Huskie Stadium in 2009.

Most Frequent Foe
Northern Illinois has played Central Michigan 46 times since 1939, more than any other current NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) school. The Chippewas own a 24-21-1 lead in the all-time series, but NIU holds a 13-12 edge in the 25 meetings as Mid-American Conference foes, thanks to its 33-7 victory over CMU in DeKalb last year. That victory broke the Huskies' three-game losing streak to Central Michigan, which followed nine straight series wins by Northern Illinois from 1998-2006. In Mt. Pleasant, the Chippewas have won 15 of the 23 games between the teams; NIU's last road win in the series came in 2005 by a 31-28 score.

Looking Back
A year ago, Northern Illinois turned a 9-7 halftime lead over Central Michigan into a 33-7 victory at Huskie Stadium thanks to a sturdy rushing attack, four field goals by kicker Mike Cklamovski and five takeaways by the Huskie defense. Chad Spann ran for 101 yards on 23 carries with three scores and NIU shut out the Chippewas in the second half to claim its first win over CMU since 2006. After being held to three field goals in the first half, Spann and the NIU offensive line got the rushing attack rolling, while Central Michigan gained just 85 yards rushing and only 296 total yards in the game. Northern Illinois picked off four passes in the game, including two by Tyrone Clark.

Doeren's Debut Season
Northern Illinois Coach Dave Doeren is 2-2 in his first stint as a head coach after spending 16 seasons on the sidelines as a collegiate assistant. The 21st head football coach in NIU history, and the 10th since Northern Illinois joined the major college ranks in 1969, Doeren came to NIU after five seasons at Wisconsin (2006-10), where he was linebackers coach and defensive coordinator (see bio).

MAC Mark
Northern Illinois opens its 26th season as a member of the Mid-American Conference in 2011. The Huskies earned their 100th win as a MAC team in the final regular season league outing last year with a 71-3 win at Eastern Michigan. In MAC games, Northern Illinois is 100-89-2 all-time and the Huskies are 65-44 (.592) in conference games since rejoining the MAC in 1997. NIU opens its 15th consecutive campaign as a member of the MAC after originally playing in the league from 1975-85.

The MAC Road
Northern Illinois has posted a 23-12 (.657) record versus Mid-American Conference foes on the road since 2002, with a perfect 4-0 mark last year. NIU's last MAC road loss came at Central Michigan, a 45-31 loss on Nov. 27, 2009. All-time, NIU is 44-51-1 (.464) in road league games, but since rejoining the MAC in 1997, the Huskies have posted a 30-25 road mark versus MAC teams.

Cal Poly Recap
The Huskies got back on the winning track and closed out their non-conference slate with a 2-2 record with a 47-30 win over Cal Poly last Saturday at Huskie Stadium. NIU jumped out to a 27-0 lead and led 34-7 at the half before the Mustangs came back to score 23 points in the second half. Jasmin Hopkins (a career-high 143 yards) and Chandler Harnish (118) each went over the 100-yard mark in rushing yards to lead NIU's 355-yard ground game, while Harnish completed 18-of-21 passes for 187 yards and two scores. Perez Ashford and Tim Semisch each collected their first career touchdowns, and Pat Schiller led the Northern Illinois defensive effort with 11 tackles.

If You're Counting
The Central Michigan game will be the 1,028th game in Northern Illinois history and the Huskies will be looking for their 515th victory all-time. NIU played its 1,000th game and won its 500th, in 2009 and has a 514-462-51 all-time record for a winning percentage of .525. Over the past 11 seasons (since 2000), Northern Illinois is 81-58 (.583) with nine winning campaigns to record the best mark of any of the three Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the state of Illinois.

2-2 Again
For the fourth consecutive season, Northern Illinois enters its fifth game of the year with a 2-2 record. In both 2009 and 2010, Northern Illinois went 2-2 in non-conference play before entering MAC competition, while 2008's 2-2 mark included a 1-1 league record. This season, NIU won its season opener for the first time since 2003 with a 49-26 victory over Army, then dropped a 45-42 decision at Kansas when the Jayhawks scored on fourth and goal with nine seconds left in the game. The Huskies ran into a powerful Wisconsin team in Chicago and fell to the No. 7 ranked Badgers 49-7 in Soldier Field Showdown II before defeating Cal Poly 47-30 in the non-conference finale to reach the 2-2 mark.

Home SEVEN Home
The 2011 Huskies play seven home games with six at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb and Soldier Field Showdown II versus Wisconsin in Chicago. It is the most home games for Northern Illinois since the 2003 campaign when NIU played seven games at Huskie Stadium and went 7-0 in those games during a 10-2 season. NIU played just five home games a year ago. The Wisconsin game marked the second Huskies' home game in Chicago; NIU opened the 2007 season versus Iowa at Soldier Field.

Their Town
Northern Illinois has 36 Chicagoland natives on its 109-man roster in 2011. NIU's Chicago contingent includes starters Da'Ron Brown, Jack Marks, Joe Pawlak, Keith Otis and Willie Clark on offense, along with Alan Baxter, Anthony Wells, Nabal Jefferson, Sean Progar, Pat Schiller and Rashaan Melvin on defense.

Michigan Man
Despite its proximity to the state and the fact that Northern Illinois faces at least three teams from Michigan every year, the Huskies' 2011 roster includes just two players from the state with only Grand Rapids native DeMarcus Grady expected to make the trip to Mt. Pleasant. Grady, a senior who has transitioned from quarterback to wide receiver in 2011, made his first career catch last week versus Cal Poly. Overall, the senior has played in 23 games during his Huskie career. Zak Giller, a redshirt freshman from Chelsea, Mich. is the lone other Michigan product on the Huskies' roster.

Record Breaker
Chandler Harnish, who already owns the Northern Illinois school records for total offense yards in a season and in a career, added another Huskie career mark to his list last Saturday when he accounted for three touchdowns to bring his career total for touchdowns responsible for (passing and rushing) to 67. That broke the previous record of 65 touchdowns set by NIU great and College Football Hall of Famer George Bork from 1960-63. Harnish has 49 passing and 18 rushing scores in his four-year, 37-game career, while Bork passed for 60 touchdowns and ran for five (due to incomplete records, Bork's total games is currently unavailable). Harnish has accounted for 14 scores (5 rushing, 9 passing) through the first four games of 2011 and at this pace, would destroy the single season record of 33 set by Bork in 1963.

Among the Best
Huskie quarterback Chandler Harnish currently ranks among the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision best in both passing efficiency and points responsible for. In four games, Harnish has accounted for 84 points with five rushing and nine passing touchdowns to rank tied for eighth nationally with 21 points per game. Harnish had 30 points at Kansas (Sept. 10) with a career-high three rushing touchdowns and two more via the air. He threw a career-high five touchdown passes against Army (9/3/11) and passed for two scores and ran for one versus Cal Poly (9/24/11).

Another Level
In his fourth season as the Huskies' starting signal-caller, senior quarterback Chandler Harnish has taken his game to another level. Harnish, who has started 35 games at quarterback since 2008, is completing a career-best 73.2 percent of his passes (71-of-97) for 861 yards and nine touchdowns, while running for 285 yards and five scores on 39 carries. Harnish is averaging 286.5 yards of total offense per game and 8.4 yards per play this season. After completing 18-of-21 passes for 187 yards and a pair of touchdowns last Saturday, his passing efficiency rating rose to 176.31. That number leads the MAC, ranks 10th in the country and is 31 points above his career average.

Four-Year Starter
Chandler Harnish is poised to break more NIU records in 2011. His nine TD passes in 2011 give him 49 for his career, third on the Huskie career charts. He is currently second all-time in both passing yards and completions and needs 194 yards and 57 completions to break George Bork's (1960-63) all-time marks in those categories. Harnish also ranks 15th all-time on the Huskie rushing charts with 1,889 yards.

Starting Strong
Chandler Harnish began his senior season with a career-best five touchdown passes - thrown to five different receivers - versus Army. His five TD passes were the most by an NIU quarterback since Sept. 17, 2005, when Phil Horvath threw six versus Akron. After that performance, which included a one-yard rushing score, Harnish earned MAC West Offensive Player of the Week honors for the sixth time in his career and was selected the MAC Player of the Week by rivals.com.

Offensive Catalyst
Chandler Harnish established a career high in total offense with 404 yards at Kansas. The Bluffton, Ind. native passed for 315 yards on a career-high 27 completions and rushed for 89 yards on 11 carries. He surpassed his previous career best of 337 yards (307 passing, 30 rushing) at Ohio (11/21/09). The total was the most by an NIU player since Phil Horvath set the school record with 477 yards versus Akron on Sept. 24, 2005 and ranks sixth on the Huskies' all-time single game list.

Sharing the Wealth
Junior receiver Perez Ashford, freshman receiver Tommylee Lewis and freshman tight end Tim Semisch each scored their first career touchdowns versus Cal Poly, bringing the number of different players who have scored TDs for NIU in 2011 to 12. A year ago, a total of 17 players reached the end zone for Northern Illinois on the SEASON, with 13 of those on the offensive side of the ball. Seven of the Huskies' 12 TD scorers so far this year have recorded their first career touchdowns with the three versus Cal Poly joining redshirt freshmen Da'Ron Brown (at Kansas) and Luke Eakes (Army) and transfers Courtney Stephen (Army) and Jamal Womble (Army) as first-time scorers. Chandler Harnish (5 TDs), Jasmin Hopkins (4) and Martel Moore (2) are the only multiple-TD scorers so far this year. Akeem Daniels and Nathan Palmer have also reached the end zone for the Huskies this year.

On the Hop
Over the last 12 seasons, Northern Illinois has had a back run for 1,000 or more yards 11 times (see chart below). Most recently, Chad Spann turned in back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2009 and 2010, joining Thomas Hammock (2000-01), Michael Turner (2002-03) and Garrett Wolfe (2004, '05, '06) with multiple 1,000-yard campaigns. One third of the way through the 2011 regular season, senior Jasmin Hopkins is a third of the way toward that 1,000-yard goal with 335 yards on 53 carries. After opening 2011 with 138 yards on 14 carries (a 9.9-yard average) versus Army, Hopkins ran for a career high 143 yards on 22 attempts in the Cal Poly game. During his NIU career, Hopkins is averaging 7.7 yards per carry with three 100-yard games.

Up Front
With redshirt seniors Trevor Olson (LT), Scott Wedige (C), Joe Pawlak (RG) and Keith Otis (RT) and redshirt junior Logan Pegram (LG) all returning on the offensive line for Northern Illinois this year, it is no surprise the Huskies once again lead the MAC and rank among the nation's best in fewest sacks allowed. A year ago, NIU was 14th in the nation in fewest sacks allowed and the unit currently ranks tied for 17th in the country in that category. The five veterans up front have made 125 combined starts, led by Olson's 44 (every game of his NIU career) and Pawlak's 31. Otis and Wedige have 17 starts each and Pegram has started 13 contests.

In the Zone
NIU's offense remains perfect in the red zone this year with 15 touchdowns and two field goals on 17 forays past the opponents' 20 yard line. The Huskies are one of 13 teams in the nation with a perfect red zone percentage and have scored more touchdowns from inside the zone than any other team in the MAC. In addition to the 15 TDs from inside the red zone, NIU has scored four times on plays longer than 20 yards, with the longest a 58-yard catch and run from Chandler Harnish to Jamal Womble versus Army.

Conversions Are Key
Offensively, Northern Illinois ranks tied for third in the nation and leads the MAC in third-down conversion percentage with a 60.87 mark. NIU converted 11 of 13 third-down attempts in the Army game, including an 11-for-11 mark through the first three quarters behind Chandler Harnish and the Huskies were nine-of-12 on third down versus Cal Poly.

More Firsts Versus Cal Poly
Several Huskies enjoyed season and career "firsts" in the Huskies' win over Cal Poly. Kicker Mat Sims made his first field goal of the season and followed that 22-yard effort by making a career-long 44-yard attempt. True freshman Tommylee Lewis made his Huskie debut and scored his first career TD on his first career carry. Junior Perez Ashford, a junior who entered the game with 40 career catches, caught his first touchdown pass while senior quarterback-turned-receiver DeMarcus Grady caught his first career pass. Even senior linebacker Pat Schiller had a "first" in the game as the senior recorded his first career solo quarterback sack.

Tackle Leader
After making a name for himself as a true freshman in 2010 as a special teams star with three blocked punts, defensive back Jimmie Ward has become an every down player in the Huskies' defensive backfield. He currently leads NIU in tackles with 34 and has already surpassed his 2011 season total of 21 stops. Ward made a career high and team leading 11 stops versus Wisconsin after making 10 tackles the week before at Kansas. The Alabama native also has a quarterback sack, two tackles for loss, a blocked punt and a pass break up on the season.

On the Blocks
Northern Illinois has continued its punt-blocking ways in 2011 with Courtney Stephen the latest Huskie to get his hands on a punt when he partially blocked a Cal Poly effort last Saturday. Stephen was also involved in NIU's first punt block of the season as he recovered Jimmie Ward's block versus Army and returned it 16 yards for the first score of the game. Blocking punts is nothing new for Ward, who blocked a punt for the FOURTH time in his 15-game NIU career. Stephen's score came in his first career NIU game after transferring from Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and sitting out the 2010 season. A year ago, NIU blocked five punts and seven total kicks.

The Turnover Tale
Northern Illinois' defense has forced five turnovers on the season with two interceptions and three fumble recoveries, and the Huskies have won the turnover battle in three of their four games this season. Northern Illinois did not commit a turnover in its losses to Wisconsin and Kansas, but had a pair of fumbles in the win over Cal Poly and an interception and a fumble versus Army. CB Rashaan Melvin (vs. Army) and DT Zach Anderson (vs. Wisconsin) have the Huskie INTs while Demetrius Stone, Alan Baxter and Ron Newcomb have recorded NIU's three fumble recoveries.

Novak's Last Class
Of the 19 seniors on Northern Illinois' 2011 roster, 13 are fifth-year players who signed with NIU as part of former head coach Joe Novak's last full signing class. The 13 were on the Huskie team that won just two games in 2007 but are now among a very small group of Northern Illinois players to have played on three bowl teams. Among NIU's 13 fifth-year seniors, 10 are listed as starters and all 13 are on the two-deep. The group includes four players who were on the 2007 team as walk-ons, receiver Willie Clark, offensive guard Joe Pawlak, fullback Pat McAvoy and tight end Jack Marks, along with 43-game starter Trevor Olson and four-year starting quarterback Chandler Harnish.

Preseason Predictions
A year ago, Northern Illinois fulfilled preseason predictions and won the 2010 MAC West Division title after sweeping through the league with a perfect 8-0 regular season record. In 2011, the Huskies were picked everywhere from first to third in the West by the preseason magazines, with Blue Ribbon Magazine and The Sporting News picking NIU to repeat, Athlon and Lindy's putting the Huskies second and Phil Steele's Magazine predicting a third-place finish. The Mid-American Conference preseason pollsters, meanwhile, put the Huskies second in the West behind Toledo with the Rockets earning eight first-place votes and 83 points and NIU garnering five first-place selections and 81 total points. Western Michigan ranked third in the MAC poll with 76 points and two first-place votes. They were followed by Central Michigan, Ball State and Eastern Michigan.

Great Gift
During Soldier Field Showdown II in Chicago, Northern Illinois announced that Dr. Kenneth and Ellen Chessick have made the largest gift ever to Northern Illinois Athletics to name the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Facility. The Chessicks' $3 million naming gift is the lead donation in the current leadership gift phase of fundraising for the facility with a full campaign to be announced in the future. Dr. Kenneth Chessick, a surgeon and attorney who graduated from the Northern Illinois College of Law in 1984 and from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1968, and his wife, Ellen, have devoted themselves to student academic success for many years and have a long history of philanthropic support for Northern Illinois University.

Senior CLASS Nominee
For the second straight season, a Northern Illinois player has been selected as one of 30 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for football as NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish was named to the elite list for 2011. The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award honors seniors who have achieved in the areas of community, classroom, character and competition. Harnish is not only a record-setting four-year starter for the Huskies on the field who became the first player to quarterback Northern Illinois in three bowl games, he has already received his bachelor's degree in business with a 3.65 grade point average and is working on his MBA. He overcame a career-threatening knee injury and adapted to working with three different head coaches and four quarterback coaches during his five seasons with the Huskies. Last year, Northern Illinois defensive end and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Jake Coffman narrowly lost out on winning the Senior CLASS Award. One of 10 finalists, he was named to the 2010 First Team.

Welcome Back
Dave Doeren's coaching staff includes a pair of familiar names. Linebackers coach Tom Matukewicz, who led NIU to a 40-17 victory over Fresno State in the 2010 Humanitarian Bowl and brought the team together after the abrupt departure of Jerry Kill on the day after the Mid-American Conference Championshp game, remains on Doeren's staff as linebackers coach. Doeren also brought Matt Canada back to Northern Illinois as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Canada was previously at NIU from 1998-2003 on Joe Novak's staff. He coached the Huskie running backs from 1998-2001, then mentored the NIU quarterbacks from 2001-03 and added offensive coordinator duties in 2003. In 2004, he left for Indiana, where he spent the last six seasons, including the last three as offensive coordinator.

Lofty Ranking
Northern Illinois is ranked among the best programs in the nation when it comes to a very important academic barometer, the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR). Northern Illinois' 987 APR for 2009-10 puts the Huskies in elite company, behind only Northwestern (993) and Rutgers (988) and ahead of teams like Duke (986), Stanford (977) and Vanderbilt (977). One of 14 teams in the country to receive an NCAA Public Recognition Award, NIU's APR of 987 is 41 points above the national average. The Academic Progress Rate (APR) is the instrument used by the NCAA to measure the eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes.

Huskies in the NFL
As of Monday, Sept. 5 there are six active Huskies in the pros. The list is led by All-Pro running back Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons), newly re-signed offensive linemen Doug Free (Dallas Cowboys) and Super Bowl winning offensive tackle Ryan Diem (Indianapolis Colts). Former NIU defensive end and current San Diego Chargers' outside linebacker Larry English, who became the highest NFL Draft choice in school history when he was selected with the 16th pick of the first round, enters his third season in the league in 2011. Wide receiver Sam Hurd returned to Illinois as a member of the Chicago Bears this offseason looking to make an even larger mark on the league after five seasons with Dallas.