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Our View: NIU football’s recent stretch worth savoring

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 5:30 a.m. CST

Do you know which Football Bowl Subdivision school holds the nation’s longest winning streak?

Northern Illinois University.

The Huskies have won nine consecutive football games. The most recent victory came Sunday night when NIU beat Arkansas State, 38-20, in the GoDaddy.com Bowl, capping the school’s most successful football season in modern history.

Sunday represented the fourth consecutive season NIU played in a bowl game. Combined with last season’s Humanitarian Bowl victory over Fresno State, NIU has won bowl games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history.

The victory over Arkansas State also gave NIU back-to-back 11-win seasons – the only 11-win seasons in school history.

In December, the Huskies won the school’s first Mid-American Conference football championship since 1983 by overcoming a 20-point halftime deficit in the MAC Championship Game to beat Ohio, 23-20, at Ford Field in Detroit. It was the second consecutive season the Huskies won the MAC West Division title and played in the MAC Championship game.

Led by the best quarterback in school history – Chandler Harnish – this senior class will leave DeKalb as the most successful class in school history. This class won 35 games, played in four bowl games, finished 25-6 during the MAC’s regular season and went 20-3 at Huskie Stadium. And it won two games on the road against Big Ten schools: Minnesota (2010) and Purdue (2009).

Harnish leaves DeKalb with more than 20 school records. He holds the school’s career records in passing yards, completions, touchdown passes, total offensive yards and rushing yards by a quarterback. He holds single-season records for passing yards and total offensive yards.

It all adds up to a season nobody soon will forget and filled with memorable moments, from the season-opening victory over Army to the win at Toledo to the premature fireworks after a game-winning field goal against Ball State. A commemorative magazine we’re publishing next week will help you retain the memories for years to come.

We salute the Huskies on their historical season. Their level of success is a positive for NIU and the community.

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