Northern Illinois has finalized its 2010 non-conference football schedule, with a September 25 game at Minnesota closing out the four-game slate that includes the season opener at Iowa State (Sept. 4), a meeting with North Dakota (Sept. 11) in Huskie Stadium and a game at Illinois (Sept. 18). NIU Director of Athletics Jeff Compher announced the 2010 schedule Wednesday as the 2009 Huskies prepare to open the season at Wisconsin this Saturday.
"We are very pleased to complete our 2010 non-conference schedule at such an early date this year," Compher said in a news release. "Many variables go into the scheduling process nowadays and it's challenging to get a good balance, but with an in-state opponent in Illinois, trips within our region to Minnesota and Iowa State as well as a home game versus North Dakota, we're pleased with this line-up."
This will give the Huskies only five home games in 2010 but three games against BCS schools.
After opening the season at Minnesota in the Metrodome a year ago with a narrow 31-27 loss, Northern Illinois will play the Golden Gophers at their new on-campus home, TCF Bank Stadium, in 2010. The stadium opens this year.
Northern Illinois and Minnesota will meet for the third time as the Huskies continue to schedule regional games versus Big Ten opponents. Last October, NIU announced the 2010 game with Illinois as the intra-state foes will meet for just the fourth time ever, and for the first time since 2001. Including this year's contests at Wisconsin and Purdue (Sept. 19), the Huskies will have played 10 games versus eight different Big Ten teams since 2000.
Next year's game between Northern Illinois and Iowa State will close out a three-game series which began in 2003 with the Huskies' 24-16 victory over the Cyclones at Huskie Stadium and saw Iowa State triumph by a 48-41 score at home in 2004. The final game has been rescheduled several times.
Northern Illinois and North Dakota will play for just the second time, and for the first time as Division I opponents as the teams last met in 1965. The Fighting Sioux are in their second season as a Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) program and open their 2009 campaign at Texas Tech.