- Scott Powers, Reporter
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Northern Illinois' 2013 football non-conference schedule will include two Big Ten opponents, the school announced on Wednesday.
Coming off its historic BCS playoff appearance, Northern Illinois will play at Iowa on Aug. 31 and at Purdue on Sept. 28 next season. The Huskies lost to Iowa 18-17 at Soldier Field for their only regular-season defense in 2012. Northern Illinois defeated Purdue 28-20 in their last meeting in 2009.
Northern Illinois' non-conference schedule also includes hosting Eastern Illinois on Sept. 21 and traveling to Idaho on Sept. 14.
The Huskies' MAC schedule includes home games against Ball State, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan and road games at Central Michigan, Toledo, Kent State and Massachusetts.
"We're excited," Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey said in a statement. "We've had a good record on the road over the last couple of years, and we'll look to continue that success. We have some challenges ahead in 2013 with some great teams, and we'll look forward to meeting them individually and focus on taking one game at a time.
"The MAC had a great season last year as a conference. We had seven bowl teams and a ton of non-conference wins. This league has great teams, and it's always challenging. We look forward to welcoming the teams to Huskie Stadium, and then will take on the road schedule, highlighted by our first trip to UMass and a rivalry game at Toledo, which is always tough."
The Huskies earned a trip to a BCS bowl, the conference's first ever, this past season after a 12-1 regular season, which included an unbeaten MAC season and a conference championship game victory. Northern Illinois lost 31-10 to Florida State in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1. The Huskies finished at No. 22 in the Associated Press poll.
Northern Illinois will return eight offensive starters, including quarterback Jordan Lynch, and four starters on defense.
Northern Illinois will play Iowa and Purdue in 2013.