DeKALB, Illinois (WTVO/WQRF) [NIU News Release] – The Northern Illinois University football team will make non-conference trips to Boston, Massachusetts and Lincoln, Nebraska in 2023 and play a six-game home schedule beginning Saturday, September 9 versus Southern Illinois, as NIU announced its 2023 non-conference slate on Thursday, along with the sites of its eight Mid-American Conference games. Dates for the MAC schedule will be announced in the future.

NIU will open the 2023 season on Saturday, September 2 at Boston College in the fourth meeting all-time between the teams. The Eagles have won all three previous games, including three-point wins in 2015 in Chestnut Hill (17-14) and in 2017 in Huskie Stadium (23-20).

The Huskies welcome the Salukis to DeKalb on September 9 for the first time since 2007 as the teams will play for the 44th time. NIU will face an in-state opponent during non-conference play for the 10th time in the last 17 seasons. On Saturday, September 16, will make its fifth trip all-time to Memorial Stadium to face Nebraska. The Huskies memorably earned a “Boneyard Victory” over the Cornhuskers in 2017 in their only win in the series.

The Huskies close out non-conference play on Saturday, September 23 when Tulsa comes to DeKalb to complete the home-and-home series that began in 2022 with the Golden Hurricane taking a 38-35 win in Oklahoma.

“Every year there is great balance with the schedule,” said NIU head coach Thomas Hammock, who enters his fifth season at the helm of the Huskies’ program in 2023. “Opening the season with Boston College, an ACC opponent, gives us a great opportunity to see where we are, similar to opening at Georgia Tech a few years ago. Then we come back home to face a quality opponent in Southern Illinois, and you have Nebraska and Tulsa who are both going into this season with new coaching staffs.

“Overall, we’ll get a great gauge of where we are as a team with the non-conference schedule. It’s a great test across the board from a physical standpoint, from a mental standpoint, from a preparation standpoint to go into conference play. We know the MAC is always going to be competitive every week. It doesn’t matter which teams you play from the East Division, every game is a battle, and we know that is true of the teams we see every year from the West.” 
While NIU will face MAC East foe Ohio, along with Ball State, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan at home. The Huskies will travel to Central Michigan and Toledo and play crossover games at Kent State and Akron. NIU played both Ohio and Akron last year and split a pair of games with Kent State in 2021, including a 41-23 win in the MAC Championship game. 

NIU 2023 Non-Conference Schedule
Sept. 2             at Boston College (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Sept. 9             SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (DeKalb, Illinois)
Sept. 16           at Nebraska (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Sept. 23           TULSA (DeKalb, Illinois)

MAC Opponents – Home: Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Ohio, Western Michigan
MAC Opponents – Road: Akron, Central Michigan, Kent State, Toledo