Huskies Overview

Fast facts

League: NCAA Football

Head Coach: Thomas Hammock

Team Mascot: Victor E. Huskie

Year Opened: 1965

Capacity: 23595

City / State: DeKalb / Illinois

Rivalries & Top Games to Attend

Bronze Stalk Trophy

Rival Team: Ball State Cardinals

The winner between Ball State and Northern Illinois takes home the Bronze Stalk Trophy. The rivalry is among the fiercest in the MAC and often has a conference championship and bowl game implications since in recent years both teams have been among the strongest in the conference. This rivalry dates back to 1941 when the Cardinals and Huskies tied at 6 all and has been going strong ever since with Northern Illinois holding an ever so slim 21-20-1 all-time lead. The battle for the Bronze Stalk Trophy is a can’t miss event for Huskies fans, so make sure to be in attendance when these two bitter rivals get together.

Huskies Tailgate Guide


When tailgating at Northern Illinois make sure to get there early for the tailgate, as the lots open 5 hours before kickoff. Huskie fans love to tailgate and getting to the game early ensures you’ll be able to take part in all the fun and exciting pre-game festivities NIU has to offer.

The East and West Lawns are reserved for Alumni donors and are where you can find most of the diehard Huskies fans before the game. The tailgates here are fully equipped with large grills, tents, and even couches. Many of the fans in these lots stay after the game in their tailgate spots to really enjoy the tailgating to its fullest. The East Lawn is also home to the student tailgate, so if you’re looking to let loose and get wild, then the East Lawn is the place to be.  

One of the center points of the tailgate party revolves around the Huskie Mobile and the Huskie Bus. The vehicles are owned and operated by a diehard NIU fans and can be found at every Huskies home game. Many students and locals set up their tailgates as close to the vehicles as possible to get in on the Huskie game day spirit that surrounds these impressive tailgate vehicles.

You’ll also be able to take in the NIU drumline when tailgating, as The NIU band’s drumline frequently makes appearances before the game at the tailgate, usually near the Huskie Mobile. You won’t want to miss the drumline performance, which riles the crowd up to a near fever pitch shortly before kickoff.  

Finally, if traditional tailgating isn’t your scene then make the short walk to Fatty’s. Here you’ll find a local favorite that serves great burgers and game day wings deal (20 wings for $15).  Whether you stop by before the tailgate or for a post-game snack, you can’t make the trip to DeKalb without stopping at Fatty’s for a bite to eat.


Huskie Statue

When attending a game at NIU make sure to stop by the Jordan Athletic Center and check out the Huskie statue. The statue does a great job of showing off the school pride that can be found all throughout DeKalb, so make sure to snap a picture of yourself with the statue.

Huskie Mobile and Bus

You can see these fun tailgate vehicles at every Huskies tailgate, and they are usually the hub of the NIU pregame party scene so stop by and hangout for a bit.

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NIU Drumline

The Drumline makes frequent tailgate appearances and does an outstanding job of riling up the crowd, so make sure to check them out when tailgating in DeKalb.

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The Yard

The Yard is the hub of Huskie tailgating. Here on the West Lawn, you’ll be able to meet NIU student-athletes, enjoy live music, and buy food and drinks. The Yard opens two and a half hours before kickoff, so head on down to The Yard before heading into Huskie Stadium.

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Where to tailgate

Huskies Stadium Guide

In Game

The Northern Illinois Huskies are a resurgent program just an hour outside of Chicago and a big time competitor in the MAC conference.  The Huskies have recently made trips to the Orange Bowl, Boca Raton Bowl, Poinsettia Bowl and played in back to back MAC championships. They had even managed to finish in the Top 25 a few years ago.

With the program’s recent success it should come as no surprise that Northern Illinois provides one of the best gameday atmospheres in the MAC. At Northern Illinois, you’ll find countless banners, flags, and statues displaying Huskies pride all throughout the stadium. You’ll even find the team’s logo painted in the grass behind the south end zone showing off the pride that fills every Northern Illinois fan and student.

You’ll find the fans and students at Northern Illinois can get quite wild on game days. The alumni take a great deal of pride in the team and come out in strong numbers to support the team. The student section at Huskies games is even more intense than the rest of the crowd and has even earned the nickname is the “Red Riot.” If you’re looking to sit with the wildest and most rambunctious fans at the game then being part of the Red Riots is where you’ll want to be. The Red Riot cheers and chants throughout the game pestering the opposition and even the referees at times.

You’ll have a great time attending a Huskies football game where there are enough pride and passion on display to appease any big time college football fan out there.

Things to check out

Painted Huskie

Inside the stadium, you’ll find even more displays of Huskie pride, as not only are there Huskies flags and banners all throughout the stadium, but you’ll also find the Huskies logo painted into the grass behind the south end zone. There is tons of Huskies pride on display at NIU, so take it all in when attending a Huskies game.

Red Riot

The Red Riot is the nickname given the Huskies student section. The section fills quickly every game and is one of the loudest student sections you will encounter in the MAC. There is always a riot in the student section with raucous chants and infectious energy that is contagious throughout the stadium.


Mission is a live Siberian Huskie mascot that can be found at every NIU game. After every Huskies score Mission sprints across the end zone in celebration, so keep your eyes peeled for this great game day tradition.

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Huskie Band

The Huskie Band always knows what tune to play to energize the crowd helping create one of the best home field advantages in the MAC. The pregame and halftime displays they put on are also among the best around, so don’t miss out on this incredible band when attending an NIU game.

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Fight Songs

  1. Huskie Fight Song

    The school’s fight song plays after NIU puts up points, storms the field, and takes home another victory.

    Huskies, come on you Huskies
    and make a score or two
    Huskies, you’re Northern Huskies
    the team to pull us through
    Forward, together forward
    there’s victory in view  Come on you Huskies, Fight on you
    Huskies and win for N.I.U.

  2. NIU Chant

    The signature chant from the Huskie fans is a very loud N-I-U


Huskies Bars & Restaurants

  1. KJ’s Tap & Grill

    KJs Tap Grill

    A place that has darts, great drinks, and good food!

    518 E Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    sportsbar - $$

  2. O’Leary’s Ale House

    O Learys Ale House burger

    Enjoy a fabulous meal, a refreshing drink and a time worth sharing with friends.

    260 E Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  3. Hometown Sports Bar and Grill

    Hometown Sports Bar and Grill

    Good Food, Good Sports and Good Friends!

    241 E Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    american - sportsbar - $$

  4. Molly’s Eatery & Drinkery

    Mollys Eatery and Drinkery

    For NIU students it's the closest bar in the area to go to that has the best food and events in the area.

    1000 W Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    sportsbar - $$

  5. Fatty’s Bar & Grill


    The official bar of the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls

    1312 W Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    sportsbar - $$

  6. Pizza Pro’s

    Pizza Pros

    We provide the best pizza around town and are a favorite among the locals here.

    1205 W Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    pizza - $$

  7. The Huddle

    The Huddle burger

    Gourmet Burgers, Fresh Cut Fries, Hot Dogs, Chicken, Soups, Salads, Smoothies, Bubble Tea, Coffee & more!

    817 W Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  8. Lincoln Inn Family Restaurant & Bakery

    Lincoln Inn Family Restaurant Bakery

    Fresh baked muffins, pastries and breads make The Lincoln Inn a unique, enjoyable restaurant for all occasions.

    302 Grove St, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  9. Barb City Bagels

    Barb City Bagels

    Barb City Bagels is a newly renovated, cozy cafe that redefines the bakery experience.

    118 E Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    cafe - $

  10. World Famous Pizza

    World Famous Pizza

    World Famous Pizza is known for its mouth-watering food all the way from Texas to Illinois.

    142 E Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    pizza - $

  11. Vinny’s Pizza


    Welcome to Vinny's Pizza & Wings, in DeKalb, Illinois! Home of the Hurricane Pizza! Fast HOT Delivery of DeKalb's BEST Pizzas, Pastas & Wings!

    221 W Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    pizza - $

  12. Fanatico


    If you're looking for the #1 Premium Experience in DeKalb County, then you've come to the right place. Stop by to enjoy the finest authentic Italian meal in the area, then onto a few drinks at the bar.

    1215 Blackhawk Rd, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    italian - $$

  13. Pizza Villa

    Pizza Villa

    Family owned and operated, we serve delicious pizzas baked on homemade dough and topped with fresh, quality ingredients.

    824 W Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    italian - pizza - $$

  14. Lukulos

    University Broiler Grill

    Amazingly delicous food at very decent prices plus excellent service!

    890 Pappas Dr, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    european - $

  15. The Junction

    The Junction

    Specialize in serving great food at a reasonable price. Freshly prepared hand-cut steaks cut lean, just the way you like them.

    816 W Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  16. Hillside Restaurant

    Hillside Restaurant

    Smell the changes in the menu every time the wind blows a new direction, and taste homemade foods, breads and famous desserts just at the end of Pie Street.

    121 N 2nd St, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$