NIU football releases 12-game schedule for 2021

View+of+the+East+side+of+Huskie+Stadium+Sept.+24%2C+2019+in+DeKalb.

Jarrett Huff | Northern Star

View of the East side of Huskie Stadium Sept. 24, 2019 in DeKalb.

James Krause, Sports Editor

DeKALB — The 2021 NIU Football schedule was released Friday with the Huskies hosting six home games and two mid-week conference matchups.

Coming off an 0-6 season, NIU will get a full 12-game slate to try and rebound. The Huskies open the season on the road in Atlanta, Georgia, when they face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Sept. 4. It’ll be the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

The Huskies home opener comes on Sept. 11 against the University of Wyoming Cowboys. The two teams last met in 2016 when the Cowboys took an overtime win in a game that was delayed several times due to thunderstorms.

NIU will head to Michigan Stadium, also known as “The Big House”, to meet the University of Michigan Wolverines on Sept. 18. It’ll be only the second-ever meeting with the Big Ten Conference powerhouse and first since 2005.

To wrap-up non-conference play, the Huskies host the University of Maine Black Bears on Sept. 25.

Mid-American Conference play opens for NIU at home Oct. 2 against the Eastern Michigan University Eagles. The Huskies closed their season against the Eagles  last year, losing 41-33.

The first road conference matchup for NIU will be against the University of Toledo Rockets on Oct. 9. Head Coach Thomas Hammock has split his two matchups with Toledo during his two seasons.

NIU returns home for its last Saturday home game of the season, hosting the Bowling Green State University Falcons on Oct. 16. It’ll be the first time the Falcons have visited DeKalb since 2016.

The Huskies’ last weekend game is scheduled for Oct. 23 against the Central Michigan University Chippewas in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. NIU has the following week off for a bye.

The “MAC-tion” portion of NIU’s schedule begins on Nov. 3 against the Kent State University Golden Flashes. NIU holds a 10-game winning streak over Kent State that dates back to 2002.

The Battle for the Bronze Stalk will take place in DeKalb on Nov. 10 as NIU hosts the defending MAC Champions, the Ball State University Cardinals. The Huskies, who held the Bronze Stalk for a decade, look to snap the two-game win streak of the Cardinals.

The 2020 MAC East division champions, the University at Buffalo Bulls, will host the Huskies on Nov. 17. NIU lost its season opener to Buffalo in 2020, giving up five turnovers.

The final game of NIU’s regular season will be Nov. 23 against the Western Michigan University Broncos. After NIU had its seven-year winning streak snapped in 2016, the two programs have traded wins every year since.

A successful season against conference foes could spell a MAC Championship appearance by the Huskies, scheduled to be played at Ford Field in Detroit on a date to be determined.