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NIU news conference notes: Chessick Practice center to hold grand opening

DeKALB – The Chessick Practice Center is about to be open for business.

Northern Illinois will hold a grand opening for the new indoor practice center prior to the Huskies’ game against Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Huskie Pride Plaza on the east side of the building at 11:30 a.m., and NIU will hold an open house from 12-2 p.m., where fans can walk inside the building.

The Huskies held their first practice inside the Chessick Center on Tuesday.

Other notes from Tuesday’s news conference:

• Defensive end Perez Ford has been huge for NIU’s defense this season. The sophomore leads NIU in both sacks (3.5) and tackles for loss (6). NIU burned Ford’s redshirt last season, and the sophomore credits being able to get on the field in 2012 for his success this season.

“The travelling experience and just being on the field, it really helps a lot. People don’t understand how much it helps,” Ford said. “Of course, I wasn’t taking 80 snaps a game my freshman year, but being on the field it does help you out, because it’s just all about experience, awareness, and you have to learn how to make plays.”

• Cornerback Sean Evans is doubtful against Eastern Michigan, according to Carey, while linebacker Michael Santacaterina was going to try and practice Tuesday. Santacaterina (ankle) has missed the past two games, while Evans left the Akron game with a knee injury and didn’t play against Central Michigan.

• Kicker Mathew Sims, who hasn’t played the past two weeks due to a leg injury, won’t practice Tuesday, according to Carey. Carey said he may take the field Wednesday and will probably be practicing Thursday.

• Akeem Daniels is still day-to-day with a foot injury, according to Carey. Daniels has yet to have a full practice.

• With the government shutdown over, the end zone cannon will be back at Huskie Stadium on Saturday.

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