Updated: December 18, 2011 5:26PM
Northern Illinois has some time off before its next game, but it is a big one. The Huskies (8-3, 6-1) will host Eastern Michigan (6-4, 4-2) on Nov. 25 (10 a.m., ESPNU) and a win will give them the MAC West title and a return trip to the MAC Championship game in Detroit. The winner of that game earns an automatic berth into the Motor City Bowl, also in Detroit.
As the EMU game is the day after Thanksgiving, the students will be off campus.
“It is a holiday weekend,” NIU Athletic Director Jeff Compher said. “It’s not like many people are working, unless you work retail.
“Not only do we have an unbelievable team, it’s Senior Day and they’ve got a lot to play for. We just hope people come out to honor these seniors, who will be playing in their fourth bowl game this year. That’s unprecedented for us.”
NIU enters on a six-game winning streak with the last three played on Tuesdays to accommodate ESPN. This week’s win at home against Ball State drew 12,391, just over half of capacity.
“That’s part of what our league does,” Compher said. “We all know there’s a possibility of playing on this day to get national exposure for our programs.’’
Tuesday’s win over Ball State was NIU’s 14th straight at home.
◆ Sophomore kicker Mathew Sims said of Tuesday’s game-winning 34-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining: “That was the first time ever I got a game-winning kick, high school or college.”
◆ Quarterback Chandler Harnish’s 519 total yards (338 passing, 181 rushing) broke the school record for a game. The previous mark of 477 was set by QB Phil Horvath in 2005.
◆ The Huskies set a school record with 43 first downs.