2006 football schedule set

By Sean Ostruszka

NIU football fans can start planning their fall Saturdays.

The team’s 2006 season schedule was released Tuesday.

NIU will play two Big Ten teams for the second straight year and also get two games on ESPN-affiliated channels.

“At home, we have six attractive home dates and some great promotions for our fans, alumni, and neighbors in the local communities,” NIU Athletic Director Jim Phillips said.

The season kicks off Sept. 2 against reigning Fiesta Bowl Champion Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.

This marks the second-straight season NIU will start in a stadium with a capacity exceeding 100,000.

One plus for the Huskies is they will take on a defense that lost nine starters.

A week later NIU has its home and MAC opener at Huskie Stadium. The Huskies play host to Ohio Sept. 9.

Later in the season the Huskies have three notable games in a row.

NIU fans will get a preview of a soon-to-be member of the MAC as it takes on Temple for NIU’s 100th Homecoming game Oct. 21.

The Owls are coming off a season without a win.

A week later the Huskies head to Iowa and Kinnick Stadium Oct. 28.

Then MAC rival Toledo comes to DeKalb for an ESPN2 game. NIU snapped its 16-year losing streak against the Rockets last season.

“You start the season with the historic visit to Ohio State and one of major-college football’s greatest, tradition-rich venues — the “Horseshoe” — on Sep. 2,” Phillips said. “After the Ohio State game in September, we have a great three-game homestand — three consecutive Saturdays of NIU football in Huskie Stadium.”