Orange Bowl 2013: Northern Illinois rides the roller coaster to a BCS bowl

Jonathan Daniel

After losing their first game, the Huskies are the Cinderella to the bowl-season ball

When the Northern Illinois Huskies take the field against Florida State on New Years' Day, they will become the first MAC team to play in a BCS bowl game. They will also be the only 2012 BCS bowl team to lose their first game of the season. After a narrow one-point loss to Iowa at Solider FIeld to open the season, NIU's dreams appeared dashed. Then they lost their offensive coordinator.

Mike Dunbar, who was serving his first season as NIU's offensive coordinator, left the team to receive cancer treatments. Offensive line coach Rod Carey stepped in and the team didn't miss a beat. Non-conference wins over Army and Kansas set the Huskies up for a run. If they could win out in MAC play, there was an outside chance they could reach a big dance.

After winning out in regular-season MAC play, the Huskies met Kent State in the conference championship. The roller coaster continued as the Huskies battled the Golden Flashes to double-overtime, finally emerging 44-37.

When the dust settles on Tuesday, the Huskies will have done something that no team at their level has done. Hopefully, for Husky faithful, that means winning a major bowl game.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation Tampa Bay

You must be a member of SB Nation Tampa Bay to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Tampa Bay. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Tampa Bay

You must be a member of SB Nation Tampa Bay to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Tampa Bay. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.