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NIU football stoked for prime-time clash vs. Toledo

TONIGHT

TOLEDO AT NORTHERN ILLINOIS

The facts: 8 p.m., ESPN2, 670-AM.

Updated: December 15, 2012 6:29AM



Playing on a Wednesday night is far from ideal for the Northern Illinois football team, but playing on national television against division-rival Toledo cushions the blow for coach Dave Doeren.

‘‘It’s obviously good for football and recruiting,” Doeren said. “It says a lot about everybody. It’s a brand. It’s NIU football. It’s the university. There are commercials about the university. It’s ESPN’s presence, all those things.

“You don’t get better advertising than national television for four hours, 8-12 p.m.”

It’s also a chance for Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch to gain national attention in his long-shot bid for the Heisman Trophy. NIU has a “Vote Lynch” campaign to promote the nation’s leader in offensive yards (3,517).

There is more than national exposure on the line for NIU (9-1, 6-0) against Toledo (8-2, 5-1). A victory will secure a Mid-America Conference West title for the third consecutive season for the Huskies, who also are riding a 14-game winning streak in the conference.

Toledo coach Matt Campbell is expecting a sellout crowd of 24,000 waiting for his team at Huskie Stadium, where NIU is has a 20-game home winning streak.

“I’m sure their students are going to be out and ready to rock and roll,” Campbell said.

Last season, the Huskies and Rockets got into a shootout, with NIU winning 63-60 in Toledo.

“That game was a pretty storied game,” Doeren said. “We know what kind of players are in it and how explosive both teams can be.’’

A victory sends NIU to the MAC Championship game Nov. 30 in Detroit, no matter what happens in the Huskies’ regular-season finale next week at Eastern Michigan.

Sun-Times staff



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