On Sept. 24, 2013, Northwestern announced it was hosting Northern Illinois in a non-conference game at Ryan Field this season. At the time, this seemed like a winnable matchup. The Wildcats were 3-0, having just blown out Maine, and less than two weeks away from facing Ohio State in a contest billed as one of the most significant in program history. Nobody thought much of the NIU matchup then, but those who did probably felt pretty good about the Wildcats' chances.
Now? This is a terrifying game. Northwestern opened its season with an ugly loss to Cal, and could easily fall to 2-0 if it has another clunker against the Huskies this week. NIU lost its two best players from last season - safety Jimmie Ward and quarterback Jordan Lynch - but this team has enough talent left to, at the very least, put a scare into Northwestern. The Huskies beat Presbyterian 55-3 to open the season, which doesn't really tell us a lot about them. These links will.
First, here's how you can watch and listen to the game
Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Live stream: BTN2GO
Live radio stream: WGN (and WNUR Sports)
- Our game picks. Let's just say we're not quite as optimistic heading into week 2.
- A great piece from Mike Deneen on the history behind Northwestern-Northern Illinois
- Nate Williams highlights five "areas to watch" in the matchup.
- Rodger Sherman provides reasons Northwestern will probably beat NIU
- Jon Davis looks at the attendance for the game
- Jason Dorow explains the three things you need to know heading into the game
- Read up on the Huskies
- We chatted asked Hustle Belt, SB Nation's MAC blog, some questions about NIU
- Henry Bushnell and I discuss whether Northwestern has "slipped."