Nebraska announced on Monday that it has completed a contract for a three-game series with Northern Illinois in 2016, 2017 and 2019.
The first of the three games against the Huskies will take place in Chicago at Soldier Field on Sept. 24, 2016. NIU has played neutral-site games the past two years at Soldier Field against Wisconsin and Iowa, and the matchup will be Nebraska's first-ever game at one of the most historical stadiums in the country.
In addition to the 2016 game in Chicago, Northern Illinois will visit Lincoln on Sept. 2, 2017, in a season-opening game, and the Huskies will also travel to Memorial Stadium on Sept. 14, 2019. Nebraska has won the only previous two meetings against Northern Illinois, winning games in Lincoln in 1989 and 1990.
Northern Illinois owns a 12-1 record in 2012, and will play in the Orange Bowl against Florida State on Jan. 3. The Huskies' only loss this season was a one-point setback against Iowa in the season opener at Soldier Field. The Huskies have won at least 11 games in each of the past three seasons, and have appeared in a bowl game in six of the past seven seasons.
"This should be a great series, not only for both football programs, but for Husker fans as well," Nebraska Associate Athletic Director for Football Jeff Jamrog said. "Northern Illinois has a record that speaks for itself over the past few years, particularly with qualifying for a BCS bowl this year. Our fans have the opportunity to go to Chicago and see a game at Soldier Field, and also get to see an outstanding opponent come to Lincoln twice."
The 2016 game in Chicago completes Nebraska's non-conference schedule for that season. The Huskers will open the year with home games against Fresno State (Sept. 3), Tennessee (Sept. 10) and Wyoming (Sept. 17), before taking on Northern Illinois. Nebraska is also scheduled to open Big Ten play on Oct. 1, 2016, at Northwestern giving Nebraska fans the opportunity for back-to-back trips to the Windy City.
The 2017 game against Northern Illinois is the second game on the non-conference schedule that season, including a Sept. 9 trip to Tennessee. The 2019 game against the Huskies gives Nebraska two scheduled non-conference games in that season, adding to a previously home game with South Alabama (Aug. 31).
Nebraska also announced that it has completed its 2014 non-conference schedule with the addition of a Sept. 6 game against McNeese State. The Cowboys are traditionally one of the top programs in the FCS ranks and finished the 2012 season with a 7-4 record. McNeese State defeated Middle Tennessee in its only matchup of 2012 against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent.
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