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CHICAGO – Typically Fridays are not the ones which are known mostly for college football, but around the Chicagoland area, December 17th of this year will be an exception.

That’s because two local schools are taking the field for important contests as they look to finish the season strong. For one program, it’s the chance to complete a turnaround season with another great moment, while another is aiming for a second national championship.

After a Mid-American Conference championship, Northern Illinois takes the field on Friday night in Orlando at the Cure Bowl against Coastal Carolina at 5 PM CST.

It’s the program’s first bowl game since the 2018 season and it comes after a remarkable turnaround season for the Huskies. After failing to win a single game in 2020, NIU rallied to win nine in 2021, winning the MAC West division then the conference championship game over Kent State on December 4th in Detroit.

Now Thomas Hammock’s team will look to finish things off right in Orlando and hoping to stop a six-game bowl losing streak in the process. The Huskies’ last win in a postseason game came on January 8, 2012 at the Bowl as they defeated Arkansas State 38-20.

Later on Friday, North Central College will be on the field to try to win a second national championship in three seasons at the Division-III level in Canton, Ohio.

The Cardinals will face Mary Hardin-Baylor at 6 PM at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in hopes of finishing a perfect season with another title. It could be considered a repeat since North Central won the 2019 national championship and one wasn’t staged in 2020 due to the pandemic.

So far in the postseason, the Cardinals have won all three of their playoff game by double-digits as they’ve increased their overall season record to 13-0.

Larry Hawley has a preview of all those games on WGN News Now, which you can see in the video above.