N. Illinois, Northwestern to play in 2014

September, 24, 2013
9/24/13
10:30
AM CT
Northern Illinois and Northwestern will play each other next season for the first time since 2005, the schools announced on Tuesday.

Northern Illinois will play at Northwestern on Sept. 6, 2014. The schools have met seven times with Northwestern winning six games and one tie.

Northwestern defeated the Huskies 38-37 in their last meeting in 2005. Northwestern running back Tyrell Sutton had 214 yards and four touchdowns in the game, and Northern Illinois running back Garrett Wolfe had 245 yards and three touchdowns.

"This is a truly exciting time for Chicago's Big Ten Team as we continue to upgrade our nonconference football schedule," Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips said in a statement. "Both Pat Fitzgerald and I have said repeatedly that Northwestern is committed to challenging itself in nonconference play, in addition to the always rigorous Big Ten slate. We're excited to add the two-time defending MAC champions and 2013 Orange Bowl participants, and an in-state program that I have the deepest respect and admiration for, to a list of future opponents that already includes teams such as California, Notre Dame and Stanford. There has never been a better time to be a Wildcats football fan."

Northern Illinois was also looks forward to the opportunity to play Northwestern.

"I am extremely excited to add Northwestern, a high-quality opponent, to our 2014 football non-conference schedule," Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier said in a statement. "Declining attendance at college football games is a national trend and scheduling has been identified as a prime factor in the decline. I am continually evaluating our future football schedules, and the addition of this game is just the first announcement regarding concerted efforts to improve our football schedule, connect with our alumni base in the Chicago region, increase exposure for NIU and promote the NIU Huskies as a national brand."

Northern Illinois has played in five consecutive bowl games and has been to seven bowl games since 2004. The Huskies are 3-0 this season and received nine votes in the latest Associated Press poll and 21 votes in the USA Today poll.

Northwestern has also been to five consecutive bowl games and has made seven bowl appearances since 2003. The Wildcats are 4-0 this season and are ranked No. 17 in the AP poll and No. 16 in the USA Today poll.
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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