While NIU has been ripped apart by sports analysts all over the TV and internet since it earned a bid to the Orange Bowl Sunday, it has not gotten involved in all the talk.
ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit leads the charge against the Huskies and called their appearance in the Orange Bowl, “an absolute joke,” as well as “a sad state for college football.”
Huskie players are taking the high-road to all this trash talk as they are trying not to let it get to them.
Around DeKalb, people have had their own response to the criticism of NIU reaching the Orange Bowl. When you drive down Lincoln Highway, you will see a Marathon gas station sign that reads, “Suck our oranges ESPN, Go Huskies!”
Former Huskie players have also had a reaction to all the talk about NIU. According to CBS Chicago, former Huskie and Colts offensive lineman Ryan Diem had a response for Herbstreit directly and he tweeted, “I find it extremely unfair and unprofessional that you have a knee jerk reaction and trash a team that has been waiting for their moment for over a decade.”
While everyone has a different reaction to Herbstreit and ESPN’s comments about NIU reaching the Orange Bowl, it really has no affect on them at all.
The Huskies were on a season-long goal to prove to the nation they were worthy of national recognition. This doesn’t change their demeanor at all heading into the Orange Bowl.
If it does anything, it may just motivate them even more over the next month while they prepare for the biggest game in school history when they take on Florida State.
Being the underdog is nothing new to the Huskies, as they have been all season long and I don’t think they would want to have it any other way.
“We expect that,” said senior defensive end Sean Progar. “We expect that, we’ve dealt with that since we’ve been here at NIU and that’s what fuels us, we’ve got that chip on our shoulder as a university, and we’ll use that as fuel this whole month preparing for this game. I’ll tell you what, we’re going to prepare as hard as we can and they’re [Florida State] going to get our best shot.”