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Better Know: NIU

niu logo2009 for the Cardinals has been far from “awesome”, “impressive”, “dominant”, or any other adjective that was thrown about like candy on Halloween last year for the 08 edition. Last season, people were pissed we weren’t making a BCS game. This season, the Cards are 1-8 and the resounding perspective from some of the “fans” has been torn between “Who cares?” and “Well… I expected that.” The Cards now face three games, all mid-week contests, and all against the upper echelon of MAC teams. The first on that slate? The Northern Illinois Huskies.

The rest of the 09 season for the Cardinals is a chance to turn things around while turning heads in the process. If the Cardinals can figure out how to upend one of these teams, then perhaps it will help a large majority of the fanbase fall in lockstep with the positive thinkers among us that better days are only a matter of time away. Three more losses make the Cards 09 campaign a 1-11 disaster… but at least we didn’t finish 0-12. Time to better know our first opponent in the Second Season…

Team: Northern Illinois University
Record: 6-3 (4-1 MAC)
Head Coach: Jerry Kill (incidentally… the best name in FBS)
Series: 20-14-2 advantage in favor of the Cardinals
Last Meeting: 45-14 W in Muncie for the Cardinals in 2008

Northern Illinois Odds & Ends
. . . The Huskies improved to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the Mid-American Conference with a 50-6 home win over Eastern Michigan last Thursday
. . . Northern Illinois has posted MAC victories over Western Michigan (38-3), Miami University (27-22), Akron (27-10) and EMU, while suffering its lone conference loss at Toledo (20-19)
. . . NIU will be playing its second consecutive Thursday night game
. . . NIU posted a 28-21 win at Purdue in September, which marked its first win over a Big Ten opponent in 21 years.

NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill
. . . Coach Kill (Southwestern ‘83) is in his second season as the head coach at Northern Illinois and in his 16th season as a collegiate head mentor
. . . He owns a 12-10 record at Northern Illinois and a 116-67 career mark
. . . Kill came to NIU after spending 14 years as the head coach at Saginaw Valley State, Emporia State and Southern Illinois.

For the NIU slant, check out:
The first, foremost, and only needed authority on the Huskies is Red and Black Attack. They are the lone member in the impressive SB Nation Network for the MAC and are also MAC Roundtable and CBSSports Blogpoll participants like OTP. RaBA is passionate, grounded, well-written, and top of the line in the MAC blogosphere and beyond. Read them. Often. Even after this game.

NIU Fun Facts
. . . Arguably the coolest alum of NIU is Dan Castellanata, the voice of Homer Simpson and Krusty the Clown… among many others.

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