Northern Illinois TE Jason Schepler gets another academy reward
BY STEVE NITZ Shaw Media September 14, 2012 9:38PM
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The facts: 11 a.m., CBSSN,
Updated: October 16, 2012 6:13AM
DeKALB, Ill. — Senior tight end Jason Schepler is the only Northern Illinois player who saw time in the Huskies’ 16-0 loss to Navy in 2008.
When he steps off the Michie Stadium field after the game Saturday against Army, the Sycamore graduate will have played two military academies in his career.
A true freshman at the time, Schepler caught one pass for nine yards in the Navy loss.
Few college players, unless you play for Notre Dame, get to play against two academies, an experience Schepler cherishes.
“It was definitely a great opportunity that I [get] to play against those guys,” Schepler said. “Those guys are protecting our country and serving our country, so it’s awesome.”
Army’s Michie Stadium isn’t your normal game-day experience with all the cadets in the stands, and one of them jumping from a helicopter with the game ball.
“It’s going to be an awesome experience down there with all the stuff that they do,” Schepler said. “Really looking forward to that.”
NIU coach Dave Doeren said the team was going to go into Michie Stadium on Friday to walk around and check out the locker room. But Doeren has maintained that it’s still a business trip for the Huskies, who hope to improve to 2-1 in their first true road game.
“Going into a [place] like West Point, you can’t be distracted by the environment,’’ Doeren said. ‘‘You have to focus on the game itself and play within that. We’ve got to do a tremendous job of not beating ourselves on the road, which I think we did at Soldier Field [in Week 1 against Iowa, an 18-17 loss].
“If we can put together a game where we don’t turn the football over and do what we did at home last week in getting three turnovers, then we have a great chance to be in that game in the fourth quarter.”
Army will display a lot of the characteristics Navy featured in ’08. There’s the quick triple option run by experienced Black Knights quarterback Trent Steelman, and the Huskies will have to be aware of the dive, keeper, pitch and occasional pass plays.
One thing that sticks out for Schepler about the Navy game was the Midshipmen’s discipline.
Schepler doesn’t expect the Black Knights to give NIU any gifts, and the Huskies will have to show discipline against the option.
“Whenever you play an academy school like that, they always play hard,’’ Schepler said. ‘‘Whenever you watch the film, no matter what the score is, they play hard every play.”