I'll be heading to Dallas for the NIU Alumni watch party early this afternoon wearing a ridiculous amount of Huskie gear. Hopefully the venue has switched to Jerry Jones' Superdome.
There really isn't anything to say at this point except for that it really is about time. I expected this to happen at some point ever since I started following the team loosely in 2002. In 2005, I became a hardcore fan when I went to school. We all know how that season ended.
This season is different and it's a culmination of things. This team has a winning mentality week in and week out. Chandler Harnish is the first All-MAC selection at QB that NIU has ever had. Here is the key quote from the Beacon News:
"It’s a team effort," he said. "The offensive line has done a great job giving me protection to throw passes. The wide receivers have made great catches and the addition of (assistant) coach Jim Zebrowski has just been monumental in my development as a quarterback. I can’t give him enough credit.
With three new starters on the offensive line, the Huskies started off slow but eventually got to trucking people. C Scott Wedige was named 1st Team All-MAC in his first season.
We've gotten to this point without even mentioning the Vern Smith Trophy Award winner Chad Spann.
The no-name defense of constantly rotating players has made this team the extra sort of special. Sure, they give up the big play now and then, but they also make the big plays on their own with a +9 turnover ratio on the season, the best since 2003 when the Huskies were +14. This is all with Tracy Wilson hampered most of the season with an injury. DEs Jake Coffman and Sean Progar lead a productive defensive line. All three linebackers are in the top-4 in terms of tackles. CB Chris Smith has been a man among men in the secondary.
"Put up 30 and we'll take care of the rest" has been the mantra. And they're still getting better.
Just the assortment of talent and the fresh bodies on the field at all times make this team exciting. Spann could have a career day, but so could Tommy Davis or Akeem Daniels or Jordan Lynch. You never know. And Miami doesn't know either.