DeKALB, Ill. – Northern Illinois University, winners of the last six Mid-American Conference West Division titles, will play six home games in 2016, including the Huskie Chi-Town Showdown versus Toledo at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, as the Huskies’ complete 2016 football schedule was released Monday.
The Huskies, who have won 35 of their last 37 home games, including 29 consecutive games at Huskie Stadium from 2009-2014, open their 2016 home schedule Saturday, Sept. 17 versus San Diego State. The Aztecs won the Mountain West Conference with an 11-3 record a year ago. The game marks the first contest between the teams since 1971 with SDSU holding a 4-0 edge in the all-time series. On September 24, Western Illinois, an FCS playoff team in 2015, comes to Huskie Stadium for the first time since 2009.
NIU opens the 2016 campaign, its 115th season of football all-time and its 48th as a Football Bowl Subdivision team, at Wyoming on Sept. 3 in the first meeting between the teams. One week later, the Huskies will take on South Florida in Tampa on Sept. 10. NIU and the Bulls will play for the first time since the 2010 International Bowl in Toronto, Canada and for the fourth time ever.
“It’s a good, challenging non-conference schedule with the two Mountain West opponents, including their defending champion, a team from the American [Athletic Conference] and a really good FCS opponent in Western Illinois, and then you’ve got the MAC which I always say is like fighting your brother,” said Rod Carey, who enters his fourth full season as NIU head coach in 2016. “They know us and we know them and every week is a battle.”
The Huskies begin their 31st Mid-American Conference season Saturday, October 1 at MAC West foe Ball State before traveling to Western Michigan on October 8. An October 15 match-up with Central Michigan begins a string of four consecutive home game for the Huskies. NIU will face the first of its three 2016 MAC East opponents October 22 when the Buffalo Bulls visit Huskie Stadium.
2016 NIU FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 3 at Wyoming
Sept. 10 at South Florida
Sept. 17 SAN DIEGO STATE
Sept. 24 WESTERN ILLINOIS
Oct. 1 *at Ball State
Oct. 8 *at Western Michigan
Oct. 15 *CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Oct. 22 *BUFFALO
Nov. 1 *BOWLING GREEN (ESPN2/ESPNU)
Nov. 9 *TOLEDO at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field (ESPN2/ESPNU) – Huskie Chi-Town Showdown
Nov. 16 *at Eastern Michigan (ESPN2/ESPNU)
Nov. 25 *at Kent State
Dec. 2 Marathon MAC Championship Game, 6 pm (ESPN2)
Ford Field, Detroit