Northern Illinois ready for its moment in sun


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Posted Online: Dec. 31, 2012, 8:22 pm
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By Fred Mitchell
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Bright lights, big stage.

This is what Northern Illinois aspired to after reeling off 12 straight victories, another Mid-American Conference championship and a No. 15 ranking in the BCS standings.

"They won't have stage fright, I can tell you that," NIU coach Rod Carey said of his team's historic appearance against Florida State in tonight's Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium.

The Huskies will become the first team from the MAC to appear in a BCS bowl.

"We're excited for NIU and excited for the MAC," Carey said.

"It's a validation of a lot of things we've talked about in the last couple of years," MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said.

The whirlwind of events has seen the Huskies win the MAC title over Kent State in overtime. NIU coach Dave Doeren then left to take over at North Carolina State. And Carey was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach as the Huskies received the controversial invitation to the Orange Bowl.

"Our concern is always being too excited," Carey said. "You try to take that away from them by focusing on the little things, on the details, and make it routine for them — muscle memory."

Carey said he has had several conversations with Doeren about this record-setting NIU team, and also about Florida State. N.C. State handed the Seminoles one of their two losses this season, 17-16 on Oct. 6.

(Doeren) has looked at the film and I've looked at the film, and (we) compared notes," Carey said. "We've talked a ton about it."

NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch has not been shy about expressing his confidence that the Huskies can pull off a major upset. Asked to describe his toughness, mindset and attitude, the Mount Carmel product said:

"Living in Chicago growing up, kind of blue-collar and always got a chip on your shoulder and (a guy who) always does things the right way and respects the game."

Florida State safety Lamarcus Joyner has taken notice of Lynch's bold statements.

"I heard their quarterback says they have an up-tempo offense and that they are looking forward to running us in the grass," Joyner said. "That's all I know about the offense, other than what I see on film. They've got some good football players. Otherwise, they wouldn't be 15th in the country or be in the Orange Bowl, so we are looking forward to the challenge."

Regarding Lynch's extreme confidence, Joyner said: "It makes football that much more interesting. When you put that bull's-eye on yourself, you have to be able to walk the talk. I respect it. I like it. I think it's cute."












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  Today is Saturday, April 19, the 109th day of 2014. There are 256 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Miss McCorkindale has opened millinery rooms over Gimbel's dry goods store, where she offers a choice lot of millinery goods, which she will manufacture to order.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The little South Park Presbyterian chapel celebrated it first Easter decorated with flowers for an afternoon worship service attended by a large congregation.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Wennerberg Chorus of Augustana College has returned from a 2,000-mile tour in the Eastern states and Illinois.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Col. Charles Lindbergh has stated that he is convinced that Germany's air force is equal to the combined sky fleets of her potential European foes.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Small gas motors may be permitted on boats in the lake to be built in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. The prospect was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The annual Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Spelling Bee continues to be a family tradition. Ed Lee, an eighth-grader at John Deere Junior High School, Moline, is the 1989 spelling bee champion from among 49 top spellers in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. He advances to the competition in Washington, D.C. Runnerup was Ed's sister, Susan.






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