Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Big Ten Patsy Northern Illinois Visits Illinois

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Big Ten Patsy Northern Illinois Visits Illinois

Article excerpt

If nothing else, credit Northern Illinois University for bravery.

The Huskies have taken on Big Ten Conference football teams 21 times since 1971. That's big-time competition for a smaller NCAA Division I-A program.

The Huskies' record in those 21 games? Would you believe 1-19-1? That ledger doesn't figure to improve this afternoon, when Northern (0-2) travels to Champaign for a 1:05 kickoff against Illinois (1-1).

Averaging just 141 yards total offense per game, the Huskies come into the contest without No. 1 quarterback Aaron Gilbert, injured last week against Southwestern Louisiana. That means redshirt freshman Brandon Barker gets the call against the team ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense.

Northern coach Charlie Sadler didn't exactly inspire confidence with some of his pregame remarks.

"It's a real challenge, but we have to take care of business and not be intimidated," Sadler said.

Pressed on keys to victory later, he added: "They'll have to make some miscues, which they have not been prone to do. They'd have to help us along the way."

Asked if he'd prefer to play Northern Illinois or a more competitive team, Illinois coach Lou Tepper said: "You always want to play someone who's competitive, but I'm not making the same jump you are. …

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