After an 8-4 season, Northern Illinois will take on Duke University in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26.
The Huskies, who finished in second place in the MAC’s West Division, have never played the Blue Devils before, marking the first time that the two squads have played on the gridiron.
Northern Illinois lost two of its final four games, including a 31-24 defeat at the hands of Central Michigan in their final game of the year. Despite those defeats, they still finished with eight wins, a three-game improvement over last season, and got back to a bowl game for the 12th time in school history.
It has been six years since Northern Illinois last won a bowl game, a 38-20 win over Arkansas State in the 2011 GoDaddy.com Bowl. They have lost their last four bowl games, including a defeat at the hands of Boise State in the 2015 Poinsettia Bowl.
The Huskies were led on offense by quarterback Marcus Childers, who threw for 1440 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season. Their rushing attack was even more potent, with Childers running for 454 yards and a team-high five touchdowns. Jordan Huff led the team in rushing with 740 yards on 127 carries.
On defense, the Huskies were led by defensive end Sutton Smith, who led the FBS in sacks with 14 this season. He also had 28 tackles for loss, best in the nation, and is a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award.
The Quick Lane Bowl will take place at Detroit’s Ford Field on Dec. 26 at 4:15 p.m., with the game airing on ESPN.