I became an NIU fan in 2002.
I became a Huskie in 2005.
I started this blog in 2007.
I have never been prouder of this team.
Last night was just a culmination. It wasn't so much the game, but what surrounded it. The Blackout by the 18,472 fortunate fans that attended. The 1983 MAC championship team not only putting an ad in the newspaper, but also showing up in force to support this team. Garrett Wolfe attending at halftime to be honored as a Huskie legend. Being nationally televised on ESPN2.
The Toledo "curse" is over.
The team that I saw out there last night in Huskie Stadium was the team I envisioned seeing Northern Illinois become one day. It took a really long time, but the Huskies are finally over that enormous hump. Judging from what fans have witnessed this season, there is nothing that will stand in the way of the Huskies winning the MAC Championship this year. 3+ years writing this blog and my dreams have started to come true.
People want to compare this season to 2004, but it makes a lot more sense to compare it to the 2002 season.
Let's face it, the students today have no recollection of how good we were earlier in the past decade. We haven't even had a bowl win since 2004, nary a MAC Championship appearance since 2005. The 2002 season set a base for the 2003 season where we went 10-2 and beat two ranked teams.
It may not have been the same stature of a game, but last night was reminiscent of when the Huskies beat a ranked Urban Meyer-led Bowling Green team in HS. NIU looked to be the best team in the conference that year until the damn Rockets beat us in the season finale. It was more remarkable to have success back the Huskies had basically ZERO history in major college football.
Now the football team looks like it is creeping back up there with some of the great teams that have played here before. The Huskies still have an opportunity to win the MAC Championship game and be ranked at the end of the season for the first time ever. The fans have been burned multiple times with false hope, but it seems like things are starting to turn around.