NIU Sports

NIU football: Season opener against EIU moved to a Thursday

The season opener for the NIU football team against Eastern Illinois has been moved up two days, the school announced Thursday, along with a couple of other kickoff times and TV announcements.

The defending MAC champion Huskies will start the 2022 season against the Panthers at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, at Huskie Stadium and broadcast on ESPN+.

The game will mark the 39th meeting between the teams in a series that dates back to 1902.

“We’re excited to start the season with a Thursday night game at Huskie Stadium,” NIU head coach Thomas Hammock said in a statement released by the school. “This gives us the opportunity to start camp earlier, get to work and get our team ready to play Eastern Illinois. We want to start fast and get the season underway as soon as we can to continue to build on the momentum of last year. Playing on Thursday night to kick off the Labor Day weekend will be an awesome opportunity for the students, faculty and staff, as well as the community to come out, provide a great atmosphere for our team and help get the season off to a great start.”

NIU also learned Thursday that its game at Tulsa on Saturday, Sept. 10, will kick off at 6 p.m. on ESPN+.

Kickoff times for NIU’s home games versus Vanderbilt (Sept. 17) and Toledo (Oct. 8) are set for 2:30 p.m. The game with the Commodores marks just the second visit for a Southeastern Conference opponent to Huskie Stadium; that game will air on CBS Sports Network. NIU plays host to Toledo in the 115th Homecoming game with the network to be announced 12 days in advance.

The Huskies’ November MACtion games once again will see NIU football in the national spotlight. The NIU-Central Michigan game on Wednesday, Nov. 2, will kick off at 6 p.m. and air on ESPN2 or ESPNU. The Huskies’ game at Western Michigan on Nov. 9 is set for a 6 p.m. kickoff on ESPN2, ESPNU or CBS Sports Network. Finally, the Huskies’ Mallory Cup game versus Miami on Wednesday, Nov. 16, will start at either 6 or 7 p.m. and air on ESPN2 or ESPNU.

The MAC and ESPN also announced that the 2022 MAC Championship game will kick off at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at Ford Field in Detroit, and will be broadcast on ESPN.