The No. 23 ranked Northern Illinois Huskies play host to the Akron Zips Saturday, Oct. 12 at 4 p.m. as NIU celebrates its 107th Homecoming Weekend.
NIU plays at home for just the second time this season; the Huskies are one of only four Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams to have played just one home game entering this week.
The Huskies are 5-0 for the first time since 2003 after defeating Kent State, 38-24, last week in their Mid-American Conference opener.
NIU defeated both Iowa and Purdue in non-conference play to become the first MAC team to win two Big Ten teams in the regular season; the Huskies' 55 points at Purdue are the most points ever scored by a league team versus a Big Ten foe.
NIU has won 26 of its last 28 games dating back to Oct. 1, 2011 and is 39-8 since the start of the 2010 season.
NIU has won 22 straight games in its home stadium, the longest such streak in the country. The Huskies' last loss at Huskie Stadium came on Sept. 26, 2009, 34-31, to Idaho.
The Huskies also own the longest conference winning streak (18 games) in the country while its 12 straight wins in road games (since Oct. 1, 2011) rank second in the FBS.
Led by tailback Cameron Stingily's 266 rushing yards on 37 carries, Northern Illinois ran for 454 yards and compiled 698 yards of total offense at Kent State, the third-highest total all-time.
Rod Carey is 5-1 as NIU's head coach after making his head coaching debut in the 2013 Orange Bowl. He was NIU's offensive coordinator in the last 12 games of 2012 and offensive line coach for the past two years.
Stingily was named MAC West Offensive Player of the Week for the first time and was one of the ESPN Capital One Impact Performers; His 266 yards were the most by an NIU back since 2003 and the second-most by an FBS player this season.
HUSKIE FOOTBALL FACTS
2012 Record/MAC Record/Finish: 12-2/8-0/1st West
2012 Final Ranking: 22 (AP); 24 (USA Today Coaches)
Head Coach: Rod Carey
Record at NIU & Career Record/Years: 5-1/1st
Alma Mater/Year: Indiana/1993
Basic Offense/Defense: Multiple/4-3
First Year of Football: 1899
All-Time Record: 540-465-51
Last Bowl Game: 2013 Discover Orange Bowl (Florida State 31, NIU 10)
Consecutive Bowl Games: 5
MAC Championship Games: 4 (last, 2012, 44-37 W 2OT)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 54/16
Starters Returning: 16 (8 offense, 5 defense, 3 specialists)
Starters Lost: 11 (3 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialists)
NORTHERN ILLINOIS FACTS
Location: DeKalb, Illinois
Affiliation: NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision
Conference: Mid-American (West Division)
Colors: Cardinal and Black
Stadium: Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium
Surface/Capacity: FieldTurf /24,000
President: Dr. Douglas D. Baker
Assoc. VP/Athletic Director: Sean Frazier
Alma Mater, Year: Alabama `92
Ticket Information: 815-752-6800
Overall: NIU leads 8-5
In DeKalb: NIU leads 4-2
In Akron: NIU leads 4-2
In MAC Games: NIU leads 5-2
Streak: Northern Illinois, 3
First Meeting: Oct. 29, 1966 - NIU 31, Akron 18 (H)
Last Meeting: Oct. 20, 2012 - NIU 37, Akron 7 (A)
The Last Meeting
October 20, 2012
Huskies Bounce Akron 37-7 for Sixth Straight Road Win
For the sixth straight time on the road, the Northern Illinois football team came out victorious as the Huskies bounced Akron 37-7 Saturday afternoon at InfoCision Stadium. The Huskies improved to 7-1, 4-0 in Mid-American Conference play, while the Zips dropped to 1-7, 0-4 in MAC. NIU has now won 12 straight MAC contests and 16 of its last 17 games overall. Junior quarterback Jordan Lynch paved the way with 223 yards passing and two touchdowns on 20-for-33 passing and rushed 20 times for 131 yards and two spectacular TD runs -- one of pure power from 15 yards out and the other of finesse on a 35-yard fourth down scamper.
Rod Carey, who spent the last two seasons on the coaching staff of the most successful teams ever at Northern Illinois, was named the 22nd head football coach in school history on Dec. 2, 2012. The 41-year old was promoted after serving as NIU's offensive coordinator during most of the 2012 season. On the same day Carey was introduced as the new head coach, Northern Illinois made history as the first Mid-American Conference team invited to play in a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl game. Carey coached the Huskies in the bowl game, a 31-10 loss to Florida State. He spent his first two seasons at NIU helping guide two of the most prolific offenses in school history as the Huskies won back-to-back MAC championships and 11-or-more games each year. In 2012 Carey added run game coordinator to his duties as offensive line coach. Already faced with replacing five starters on the offensive line Carey assumed offensive coordinator duties after the first game of the year. In his first season at NIU, Carey mentored two All-Americans and three all-conference selections. Center Scott Wedige and left tackle Trevor Olson were named All-Americans by CBSSports.com and Phil Steele's magazine, respectively. A three-year starter at center for Indiana, Carey served as a team captain and won IU's Corby Davis Outstanding Offensive Player Award as a senior, playing for former Northern Illinois head coach Bill Mallory. He earned his bachelor's degree from Indiana in 1994. Carey joined the Huskies after three seasons as the offensive line coach at the University of North Dakota. His line paved the way for UND 1,000-yard rusher Josh Murray (1,146 yards) in 2008 and for the No. 2 running back in the Great West Conference a year later. Five of Carey's offensive linemen earned GWC all-conference honors in his last three seasons. Prior to going to North Dakota, Carey spent the 2007 season as the offensive line coach at Illinois State. From 2000-06, Carey coached at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. His offensive units averaged nearly 400 yards per game during his seven seasons and set 14 records, including the all-time conference rushing record. In all, Carey coached 26 all-conference selections and seven All-Americans during his time at UW-Stout. A native of Wayzata, Minn., Carey began his collegiate coaching career at the University of Minnesota (1998-99) where he helped the Gophers to their first bowl game in over a decade with a trip to the 1999 Sun Bowl. Prior to UM, he spent four seasons in the high school ranks at his alma mater, Wayzata (Minn.) High School, from 1994-97. Carey and his wife Tonya have two children, daughter Kennedi (8) and son Charlie (6).
FOLLOW THE HUSKIES
The Redesigned NIUHuskies.com
Northern Illinois Athletics unveiled its redesigned website at www.NIUHuskies.com, on August 29.
The new site features a larger video player, a social media hub on the front page of the site, and easy-to-find links to tickets, promotions and fan information.
Fans can connect with new Assoc. VP and Director of Athletics Sean Frazier in "Frazier's Corner" and get information and links at GameDay Central.
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NIU NEWS & NOTES
HOME FOR HOMECOMING: NIU celebrates its 107th Homecoming with its second home game of 2013 when the Akron Zips visit Huskie Stadium for the Huskies' 2013 MAC home opener.
HOME SWEET HOME: NIU has won a school-record 22 consecutive games at Huskie Stadium and owns the longest winning streak by a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team in its home stadium. The Huskies' streak dates back to Sept. 26, 2009, when NIU dropped a 34-31 decision to Idaho. Ninety-six players on this year's roster have never experienced a loss on Brigham Field with only the Huskies' nine fifth-year seniors on hand the last time NIU lost a game at home.
MAC MARK: The Huskies' 22 consecutive wins at Huskie Stadium is tied with Marshall for the longest home stadium winning streak in Mid-American Conference history. Marshall's MAC-record streak began Sept. 20, 1997 in the Herd's first home game as a member of the league, and ended Oct. 5, 2000 in a 30-10 loss to Western Michigan. Marshall won three MAC Championship games (1997, '98, '99) at home during the streak.
ROAD WARRIORS: NIU was one of only five FBS teams to play four of its first five games of 2013 on the road. Toledo, Utah State and Ole Miss were also on the road for four of their first five games, while Florida Atlantic plays five of its first six contests away from home.
MAC STREAKING: The Huskies extended the longest conference winning streak in the nation to 18 games with its win at Kent State last Saturday. NIU has not lost to a Mid-American opponent since falling at Central Michigan (48-41) in its 2011 league opener. NIU won the remainder of its MAC games that season and the title game, and swept through conference play in 2012 before defeating Kent State in Detroit.
ROAD STREAKING: NIU's 12-game winning streak in road games ranks as the second-longest in the country behind only Oregon's 17 straight wins on the road. The Huskies have not lost on the road since dropping a 48-41 decision to Central Michigan on Oct. 1, 2011, and are 4-0 on the road in 2013.
RANKED: NIU is ranked No. 23 in both polls this week after cracking into the Associated Press' Top 25 for the first time this season. The 5-0 Huskies held steady at No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll for the second straight week. NIU earned 138 points from the AP voters and 169 in the coaches' poll. This year marks the earliest the Huskies have been in the Top 25 since 2003. NIU is ranked for the third time in the last four seasons.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: With a 47-11 record since 2003, Northern Illinois has raised its all-time record at Huskie Stadium to 153-97-2 for a .611 winning percentage. Five of NIU's 11 home losses since 2003 occurred in 2007. Since 2007, the Huskies are 26-3 playing at Huskie Stadium.
HUSKIES IN THE MAC: NIU is 116-90-2 all-time in MAC games with an 80-45 (.640) record in league play since 1997. The Huskies have won 23 of their last 24 and 28 of their last 32 MAC regular season contests. Northern Illinois is in its 28th season as a member of the Mid-American Conference in 2013-14; the 2013 season is NIU's 17th in the MAC since rejoining the league in 1997.
MAC AT HOME: Northern Illinois is 65-38-1 (.630) all-time in home Mid-American Conference games with a 44-19 (.698) mark versus the league in Huskie Stadium since rejoining the league in 1997. NIU has won 16 consecutive MAC games at Huskie Stadium over the last four seasons. Central Michigan was the last league team to defeat NIU in a 33-30 overtime win on Nov. 12, 2008.
INFREQUENT FOES: NIU and Akron meet for the 14th time, as the Huskies have faced Akron fewer times than any MAC opponent except Buffalo (not including UMass). The teams have played three times in the last four years, with NIU winning each game including a 37-7 decision at InfoCision Stadium last season and a 50-14 victory at Huskie Stadium in 2010. The teams met twice in 2005, with Akron claiming a 48-42 overtime win in the Rubber Bowl on Sept. 24 and a 31-30 victory in the 2005 MAC Championship Game on Dec. 1 at Ford Field in Detroit.
HUSKIE HOMECOMING HISTORY: Northern Illinois celebrates its 107th Homecoming this weekend as the Huskies' annual celebration dates back to an alumni football game played on Oct. 10, 1903. NIU's Homecoming is the oldest major college alumni gathering in the state and the Huskies have one of the longest-celebrated Homecoming traditions in the country. All-time, Northern Illinois is 67-29-10 in its Homecoming football games and has won 14 of its last 15 games in front of the alums. In Huskie Stadium, NIU is 33-13-2 in homecoming games.
NOVAK, DIEM SET FOR NIU HALL OF FAME: Former NIU head coach Joe Novak and three-time All Mid-American Conference offensive lineman Ryan Diem headline the list of seven individuals and one team that will be inducted into the NIU Athletics' Hall of Fame Friday night at the Holmes Student Center. Novak is credited with turning around the fortunes of the Huskie football program during his tenure as head coach from 1996-2003. He ranks third all-time at NIU with 63 wins, and led the Huskies to four MAC West titles and two bowl games, as well as the highest ranking in school history (No. 10 BCS, 2003). Diem made 35 consecutive starts at offensive tackle en route to earning first team All-MAC honors in 1999 and 2000 and third-team All-America recognition as a senior. Drafted in the fourth round by the Indianapolis Colts, he went on to an 11-year career in the NFL. Mick Coyne (men's swimming, 1998-2001), Denise Dove (women's basketball, 1987-91), Susan Henrichsen (women's swimming, 1979-83), Dan Jaques (men's track and field, 1969-73), the 1991 women's gymnastics team and Walt Owens (baseball/instructor/mentor, 1970-2007) join the two in this year's class.
REUNION TIME: In addition to the Hall of Fame and Homecoming festivities, three of the most significant and successful football teams in the history of Northern Illinois University will hold reunions as the 1963, 1983 and 2003 Huskies gather for anniversary celebrations this weekend. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of their College Division National Championship, the 1963 Huskies will have a plaque dedicated at "championship plaza" in the southwest plaza, outside the stadium, at 11 a.m. Saturday. Twenty-two members of the team have confirmed their attendance. NIU's first MAC Champions, led by head coach Bill Mallory, are back for the 30th Anniversary of their title run in 1983. The "youngsters" of the 2003 team that started the year 7-0 with wins over Maryland, Alabama and Iowa State and was ranked as high as 10th in the nation, returns for its 10th Anniversary. All three teams will be recognized at the Hall of Fame ceremony Friday night and during Saturday's game.
ON THE RUN: Behind junior tailback Cameron Stingily's 266 rushing yards on 37 attempts (see below), Northern Illinois ran for 454 yards on 63 carries Saturday at Kent State, the eighth-highest single game rushing total in school history. NIU's 28 rushing first downs rank second in the Huskie record books, behind only the school-record 31 rushing first downs versus Fresno State on Oct. 6, 1990. NIU improved its rushing average to 303.4 yards per game, fifth in the country.
ORN OUT: The Huskies' 698 yards of total offense on 98 plays at Kent State ranks among NIU's top offensive performances all-time. The 698 yards is the third-highest total in school history, behind only the school-record 806 yards vs. Fresno State (10-6-90) and the 710 yards vs. Ball State on Nov. 15, 2011. The total is the eighth-highest in MAC history. NIU's 98 offensive plays were just four away from the school record of 102, set versus Ohio on Nov. 7, 1981.
OVER, THROUGH AND AROUND: NIU linebacker-turned-tailback Cameron Stingily rumbled through the Flashes for 266 yards on 37 carries with a pair of touchdowns. He averaged 7.2 yards per rush with 17 runs of more than five yards and nine carries for 10-plus yards. An amazing 16 of his carries resulted in a Huskie first down. Stingily's rushing total was the most by a Huskie running back since Garrett Wolfe set the NIU school record with 353 yards at Ball State in 2006 (9-30), ranks 12th all-time at Northern Illinois and is second among FBS runnig backs this year. With his second career 100-yard game, Stingily claimed the team lead in rushing and has 576 yards on 98 carries and five TDs. He is averaging 115.2 yards per game to rank third in the MAC and 16th in the country, and is gaining 5.9 yards per carry.
NO FUN: Eastern Illinois Head Coach Dino Babers perhaps said it best when talking about tackling Cameron Stingily, who gained 134 yards on 21 carries versus the Panthers. "That guy's a bull," Babers said. "That [tackling him] was not fun. There's a lot of times when you're an old man, you wish you could go out there and play the game one more time. Not with him running the ball. I was fine just standing on the sideline coaching."
SCORING STREAK: Northern Illinois enters the Akron game having put points on the board in every quarter of every game this season - a scoring streak 20 quarters long. In fact, the Huskies have been held to three points in a quarter only once - during the third period at Iowa. Since that time, NIU has put up at least six points in every period. NIU is most successful in the second quarter with 69 of its 211 points, followed by the third period when the Huskies have posted 55 points. NIU has scored at least 40 points in every period.
RESPECTING THE PROTECTING: Through five games, the Huskie offensive line has given up just three quarterback sacks. Only one team in the country - Nebraska - has surrendered fewer sacks this season. NIU's sacks allowed per game average of .60 is tied for fourth in the country. A year ago, NIU gave up 17 sacks on the season, good for 21st nationally. The Huskies have used a seven-man rotation on the line this season with the starting five of senior Jared Volk (LG), juniors Tyler Loos (LT) and Ryan Brown (RT) and sophomores Andrew Ness (C) and Aidan Conlon (RG). Senior Matt Krempel is the third man in at tackle, while junior Tyler Pitt comes in at guard.
SMALL CLUB: With 44 rushing yards this week, NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch will become just the 10th player in FBS history to rush for 3,000 and pass for 4,000 yards in a career. The last player to make that list was Michigan's Denard Robinson. Other players to crack the 3,000/4,000 plateaus are Colin Kaepernick (Nevada, 2007-10), Brad Smith (Missouri, 2005-05), Antwaan Randle El (Indiana, 1998-2001), Josh Cribbs (Kent State, 2001-04), Patrick White (West Virginia, 2005-08), Brian Mitchell (Louisiana-Lafayette, 1986-89) and Eric Crouch (Nebraska, 1998-2001). Four of the nine players have more than 4,000 rushing yards, while seven have surpassed the 6,000-yard mark in passing. Lynch enters Saturday's game with 2,956 rushing and 4,430 passing yards. Unlike most of the players in the 3,000/4,000 club, Lynch has just 19 career starts.
TOP SCHOLAR-ATHLETE: NIU senior offensive tackle Matt Krempel is one of only 54 nominees from the Football Bowl Subdivision for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Awards. Presented to the top 16 football student-athletes across all divisions of college football, the NFF awards an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship to the winners with one individual selected to receive the William V. Campbell Trophy. Krempel is a three-year letterwinner who graduated in May 2012 with a 3.59 GPA in pre-physical therapy and is pursuing a degree in kinesiology and physical education. NIU is the only school in the country to have an NFF Scholar-Athlete Award in each of the last two seasons (Chandler Harnish, 2011; Nabal Jefferson, 2012).
LEADING THE D: Senior Jimmie Ward picked off his fourth pass of the season at Kent State, equalling his career total entering the year. Ward leaped to pick off a Colin Reardon pass intended for Dri Archer in the end zone for his eighth career pickoff. Ward has as many interceptions as any player in the country and ranks tied for second in the nation in interceptions per game. Ward also recovered an Archer fumble and made seven tackles to add to his team-leading total. The safety from Mobile, Ala. set up the Huskies' game-winning field goal at Iowa by intercepting Iowa QB Jake Rudock with 1:17 to play. His 33 solo tackles lead NIU and the Mid-American Conference, and rank eighth in the country. He has 46 stops on the year.
RETURN ON: Tommylee Lewis scored on a kickoff return for the fourth time in his career at Purdue when he took the second half kickoff back 99 yards for a score. The kickoff return score was the fourth of Lewis' career, adding to the school record he tied as a freshman with two KOR returns in the same game at Toledo (also a record), and broke last year with a kickoff return score at Eastern Michigan. At Purdue, Lewis was untouched on his way to the end zone. The Huskie junior's career kickoff return average of 25.4 yards is a school record, while his 1,573 total kickoff return yards ranks second all-time at NIU.
ALL-PURPOSE: The term might as well have been invented for Tommylee Lewis. The 5-7 Floridian leads NIU in catches (34) and kickoff returns (8-229), ranks second on the team in receiving yards (288) and third in rushing yards (147) after a 104-yard rushing game at Idaho. With Angelo Sebastiano sidelined, he added punt return duties in the last two games. Lewis, a Paul Hornung Award candidate, is averaging 133.2 all-purpose yards per game, fourth in the league and 33rd in the nation, and also ranks 25th in the country in catches per game.
FROSH FACES: Six true freshmen have seen action this year for the Huskies: linebackers Sean Folliard and Jamaal Payton, wide receivers Aregeros Turner and Chad Beebe, safety Mycial Allen and defensive end Austin Smaha. Beebe was the latest rookie to see his first action as he got on the field in the second half at Kent State. The Huskies have also played 11 redshirt freshmen in 2013. Redshirt DT Mario Jones is the only freshman to make a start this year.
THE HARD WAY: Over the years, the NIU football program has adopted the motto "The Hard Way" based on the Huskies' ability to battle adversity and overcome obstacles while winning games. Lately "The Hard Way" - which dates back to the Joe Novak era - has often extended to the game itself. In winning 37 of its last 45 games since the start of the 2010 season, NIU is 13-5 in games decided by seven points or less. The Huskies are 2-0 this season in close games, defeating Iowa and Eastern Illinois by three and four points, respectively. NIU went 4-1 in close games a year ago and won five of seven tight contests in the nailbiting season of 2011. Both years ended in MAC Championships.
FILL THE BONEYARD: With wins over a pair of Big Ten Conference opponents in 2013, NIU will add two dog bones (stickers) to the wall in its locker room. The Huskies have 13 wins over teams from a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) automatic qualifying league. NIU's first boneyard win came versus Kansas on Sept. 3, 1983. For the complete list of NIU's Boneyard wins, see below.
B1G BUSTER: After defeating both Iowa (30-27) and Purdue (55-24) during the non-conference schedule, NIU is 4-4 in its last eight games versus Big Ten Conference opponents and became the first Mid-American Conference team to defeat two Big Ten opponents in a regular season. The Huskies' 55 points at Purdue were the most ever scored by a MAC team versus the Big Ten and its 31-point victory margin tied for the largest versus the B1G in league history.
GRADS: The Northern Illinois roster includes five players who have already earned their undergraduate degrees. Offensive tackle Matt Krempel earned his degree in health sciences (pre-physical therapy) in Spring of 2012. Fellow offensive lineman Jared Volk and safety Dominique Ware graduated from the NIU College of Business in May 2013, while offensive lineman Matt Battaglia (history) and quarterback Jordan Lynch (kinesiology/exercise science) completed their degrees this past summer.
LOOKING AHEAD: Next weekend, NIU heads back out on the road to take on recent nemesis Central Michigan, the last MAC team to defeat the Huskies. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT from Mt. Pleasant.