DeKALB – The Big House is on the horizon for Northern Illinois football.
On Friday, the University of Michigan announced that NIU was on the schedule for Sept. 18, 2021, two weeks after NIU Mid-American Conference rival Western Michigan visits Ann Arbor.
NIU made its lone appearance in Michigan Stadium – aka “The Big House” – in 2005, resulting in a 33-17 win for the Wolverines.
“Michigan: excellent, excellent program,” NIU athletic director Sean Frazier said. “Tradition-based. We’ve played them before. This makes sense. It’s the right fit for us from a competition standpoint.
“It’s not odd that we play a powerhouse in the Big Ten, and this gives us an opportunity to do that, and we really appreciate their patronage of us relative to helping us with some of our guarantee components and he’s done a great job. That’s the kind of game our kids want to play.”
Frazier, an Alabama alum who played for the Crimson Tide football program from 1987 to 1991, played against current Wolverines athletic director Warde Manuel when he played for Michigan in the 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl in Tampa, Florida.
“Warde Manuel, the athletic director – he’s an outstanding human being. We played each other when he was at Michigan and I was at Alabama, and I want to go up there and steal one from them.”
The Huskies call victories over Power Five programs “Boneyard” wins with the last such win coming over Nebraska at Memorial Stadium in a 21-17 decision
Sept. 16, 2017.
Wake Forest originally was on the Huskies’ schedule for that same date Sept. 18, 2021, with the game set for play in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The Demon Deacons, currently coached by former Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson, are no longer listed as a future nonconference opponent for the Huskies.
“I don’t think they take a backseat; I just think we reshuffle the deck on that,” Frazier said.