Former Huskie takes in visit home

What was a distant road game for his teammates on Maine was a homecoming for running back Jordan Rowell

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Sean Reed | Northern Star

Maine senior running back Jordan Rowell tries to evade an NIU tackle late at Huskie Stadium on Sept. 25. Rowell, the native of Elmhurst, had two carries for five yards in his return to Huskie Stadium.

Noah Silver, Sports Reporter

DeKALB — Hopping off the bus at Huskie Stadium, the feeling was very different for running back Jordan Rowell than he’s previously felt. 

The last time Rowell was in the stadium, he was decorated in red and black as a Huskie. Rowell returned Saturday sporting the white and blue for the University of Maine Black Bears, ready to upset his former team. 

A resident of Elmhurst, Illinois, 22-year old Rowell spent his first two seasons at NIUunder the command of former head coach Rod Carey. Although he did not see much playing time, Rowell remembered how amazing it was helping take the Huskies to the MAC Championship game against the University of Buffalo in 2018. 

“My best moment on the field as a Huskie is going to the MAC championship and winning against Buffalo,” Rowell said. “That was a huge game. It was amazing being in that atmosphere.”

Maine senior running back Jordan Rowell talks with several Huskie players, some former teammates, after NIU defeated Maine 41-14 at Huskie Stadium on Sept. 25. Rowell won a conference championship with NIU back in 2018 before transferring to Maine. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

Off the field, Rowell also remembered the fun he had as a student at NIU and the memories he made along the way.

“When I first got back, I was nervous,” Rowell said. “Just passing the places I used to live and walk around. I really did enjoy it here.” 

Coaching changes and depth chart inconsistencies led to Rowell’s eventual decision to leave NIU and pursue a change of scenery. 

“I just didn’t see this being a good fit for me,” Rowell said.  “I let coaches know what kind of person I was, what type of running back I was. I was just ready to be on the field again.” 

The school that came calling for the running back was the University of Maine. As a Football Championship Subdivision school, they might not draw the country’s best players. However, they are still a strong competitive school, last reaching the FCS playoffs in 2019, where they were defeated in the semifinals. The Black Bears are trying to prove they are ready to take on both FCS and Football Bowl Subdivision teams alike. 

“As soon as I entered the transfer portal, Maine welcomed me with open arms,”  Rowell said. “I went down there for a visit, and I pretty much loved it.”

After joining the Black Bears, Rowell knew this was going to be a great team for him, and they were going to be strong. 

“We always have a chip on our shoulder, and I know our team can come back and just keep our foot on the gas,” Rowell said. “We are all about momentum.” 

Although the Black Bears fell to the Huskies 41-14, Rowell says he had a great time being able to come back to his old stomping grounds and see his family and friends. 

“The people of DeKalb will always be family. I will always remember NIU,” Rowell said. “This place is a huge part of my life, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.”

As he heads back to Maine, Rowell will finish his college career and pursue the world of psychology. When he thinks back to his playing days, Rowell will hold two teams in his heart: The Black Bears and the Huskies.