NIU/NU to Meet at Ryan Field Next Season

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By Shannon Ryan, Tribune reporter8:15 a.m. CDT, September 24, 2013

Northwestern and Northern Illinois will meet for the first time since 2005 next season at Ryan Field.

The Huskies will be going for their first victory in eight attempts against the Wildcats when the teams meet on Sept. 6, 2014.

“(I am) really excited about the game, as I know our fans will be,” NIU coach Rod Carey said in a statement.  “It’s a great opportunity for fans in Chicago to see two really fine football programs play.”

Northwestern has won six games and the 1987 meeting ended in a 16-16 tie. All the games have been played in Evanston.

The last meeting was memorable.

On Sept. 10, 2005, the Huskies nearly upset Northwestern but a two-point conversion pass with six seconds remaining fell incomplete. The teams combined for 1,033 yards of total offense.

Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips and NIU’s Sean Frazier said the game enhances both teams’ schedules.

“This is a truly exciting time for Chicago’s Big Ten team as we continue to upgrade our nonconference football schedule,” Phillips, who came to NU after holding the same job at NIU, said in a statement. “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.”

Said Frazier 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.”

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