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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

NIU finalizes 2024 football schedule

Huskies to play five Saturday home games
Tim Dodge
Then-senior linebacker Tyler Jackson (0) lines up behind then-redshirt sophomore George Gumbs Jr. and then-junior defensive tackle Cade Haberman in an NIU football home game against Ohio University on Oct. 14, 2023. NIU football’s 2024 schedule was released Tuesday. (Tim Dodge | Northern Star)

DeKALB – The NIU football team is set to face a pair of Power Five opponents in the University of Notre Dame and North Carolina State University in its 2024 schedule announced by NIU and the Mid-American Conference Tuesday.

NIU will play six games at Huskie Stadium in 2024, five of those falling on a Saturday, the most for NIU since 2012. 

“I really like the schedule,” said NIU football head coach Thomas Hammock via NIU Athletics. “It’s a very balanced schedule. We have no back-to-back road games except when we go to MACtion. We have a true bye week, which is something we haven’t had. We are playing our two trophy games which is a big deal for our players, and playing five Saturday home games is a tremendous thing for the fans.”

NIU will open its season on Aug. 31 against in-state rival Western Illinois University before heading east for its first-ever meeting with Notre Dame on Sept. 7 in Notre Dame, Indiana. The Huskies will then have a week off before opening MAC play at home against the University at Buffalo on Sept. 21. 

The Huskies then travel to the East Coast for their second meeting with NC State, led by former NIU head coach Dave Doeren, on Sept. 28 to close out the September slate. 

NIU will wrap up non-conference play on Oct. 5 against the University of Massachusetts, a Football Bowl Subdivision independent program that will join the MAC as its 13th full member in 2025.

MAC play continues on Oct. 12 as the Huskies take on Bowling Green State University in Falcon territory for the first time since 2017. NIU returns home the following week to host the University of Toledo in the 117th Homecoming Game on Oct. 19. 

The Huskies end October with the Battle for the Bronze Stalk against Ball State University on Oct. 26 in Muncie, Indiana. 

NIU’s three-game midweek MACtion slate begins with a road test on Nov. 6 at Western Michigan University, followed by a home game against the University of Akron on Nov. 13. The Huskies then hit the road to battle defending MAC champion Miami University for the Mallory Cup on Nov. 19. 

NIU will close out the regular season on Nov. 30 with a Saturday home matchup against Central Michigan University. The 2024 MAC Championship Game will be played Dec. 7 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Under the new scheduling model announced by the MAC on Nov. 30, the two highest-rated teams based on highest winning percentage will play in the title game.

The Huskies are coming off a 7-6 2023 campaign that culminated in a 21-19 victory over Arkansas State University in the 2023 Camellia Bowl, NIU’s first bowl victory since 2012. 

NIU will begin holding spring practices on March 26 and practice 15 times in five weeks, concluding with the spring showcase on April 27 at Huskie Stadium. 

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