Big Ten Patsy Northern Illinois Visits Illinois
1994, Copley News Service, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
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. …