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Six home games at Huskie Stadium, including the season-opening contest versus Boston College, and non-conference matchups versus teams from the ACC, Big Ten and Mountain West, highlight the NIU Huskies’ 2017 football schedule released Wednesday.
NIU welcomes an opponent from a “Power 5” (previously BCS) conference to Huskie Stadium for the first time in five years when the Huskies take on the Boston College Eagles on Friday, Sept. 1, to kick off the 2017 season. Boston College won both of the previous games between the teams, including a narrow 17-14 decision at home on Sept. 26, 2015. The game is the first of six potential television games already on the NIU schedule as it will be televised by the CBS Sports Network.
On Saturday, Sept. 9, in-state opponent Eastern Illinois University visits Huskie Stadium as NIU opens the season with back-to-back home games for the second time in the last three seasons. NIU has won 26 of the previous 37 meetings with the in-state foes, including a 43-39 victory in 2013 as part of a series that dates back to 1902.
“It’s nice to start the season with two home games, and I know our fans will be excited to see an ACC team in Boston College in Huskie Stadium,” said NIU head coach Rod Carey, who ranks fourth on the NIU coaching wins list in four seasons at the helm of the Huskie program. “Obviously we again have a challenging non-conference schedule with games at Nebraska and San Diego State rounding it out.”
On Saturday, Sept. 16, NIU travels to Nebraska to play the Cornhuskers for just the third time in school history. Nebraska defeated NIU in 1989 and 1990 in the only previous meetings between the teams. Following an open date, the Huskies head west on Saturday, Sept. 30, to close out its home-and-home series with San Diego State University.
The Mid-American Conference slate begins Saturday, Oct. 7, when NIU entertains Kent State University as part of the school’s 111th homecoming celebration. NIU faces MAC East foes University at Buffalo (Oct. 14) and Bowling Green State University (Oct. 21) on the road the next two weeks.
The Huskies begin MAC West Division competition with three consecutive Thursday night games, beginning Oct. 26, when they play host to Eastern Michigan University at Huskie Stadium. NIU and the University of Toledo meet for the 45th time on Thursday, Nov. 2, in the Glass Bowl. One week later, NIU and Ball State University battle for the Bronze Stalk Trophy on Thursday, Nov. 9, in Huskie Stadium.
“The MAC is the MAC,” Carey said. “We know the teams; we know the players and the stadiums. Every week, it’s like fighting your brother and I don’t expect anything different in 2017.”
NIU closes out its 2017 home campaign with a Senior Day matchup on Wednesday, Nov. 15, versus Western Michigan University before traveling to Mount Pleasant to finish the regular season versus Central Michigan University on Friday, Nov. 24.
The final five games of the season are all in the group of games slated for possible national broadcast on CBS Sports Network or an ESPN Network. A year ago, nine Huskie games were broadcast on an over-the-air network, including five on CBSSN, two on ESPNU and one on ESPN2. NIU has been one of the MAC’s most televised teams over the last 10 years.
Season tickets for 2017 NIU home games are on sale now at NIUHuskies.com or by calling 815-753-PACK (7225). Season tickets are an even greater value in 2017 with the addition of the new $199 Family Pack, which features four tickets in sections A or G and a new lowered $60 price for season tickets on the east side with general admission seating. Reserved seats in sections A, B, F and G are now just $115 for the season, a cost of less than $20 per game.
All 2016 season ticket members are expected to receive their renewal packets, including season ticket and Huskie Athletic Fund information, in the mail next week, when complete information on season ticket pricing and benefits will be available.