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Northern Illinois set for another big splash in football

Friday, March 04, 2011  
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By Jay Taft
RRSTAR.COM
Posted Mar 04, 2011 @ 01:26 AM

The Northern Illinois 2011 football schedule was released this week, and the Huskies have a shot at earning a little more respect this year, building on what they gained from last season’s 11-win effort.

They will play seven home games for the first time since 2003, including a "home” contest against Wisconsin at Chicago’s Soldier Field. They also face Army and Cal Poly at home, and they will be on ESPN at least three times.

With 39 players returning from last year’s team, this will be a great opportunity for NIU to win over a few more mid-major haters and prove they are worthy of the big stage.

Brown out, Broncos not
David Brown (Hononegah) will be with the Western Michigan Broncos when they begin postseason play next week, he just won’t be suited up. The sophomore guard is taking a medical redshirt and has been out with an ankle injury since December.

Western Michigan (17-11, 9-5 Mid-American Conference) was near the top of the league headed into Wednesday night’s contest. The MAC tourney opens Tuesday.

Brown helped the Broncos to a season-high four-game winning streak just before hurting his ankle. He averaged 4.1 points, and just less than one rebound and one assist while playing 11.6 minutes a game. Last year he averaged 2.4 points in 9.4 minutes a game.

Lawler, Malone make first team
The season may be over for the Rockford College women’s and men’s basketball teams, but the awards are coming in. Seniors Megan Lawler (13.8 points, 10.3 rebounds a game) and Robert Malone (25 points a game, fourth-best in the country) were named to their respective All-Northern Athletic Conference first teams. Freshman Tory Minnifield was named NAC Men’s Co-Freshman of the Year and junior Britney Curry was named to the women’s All-NAC Second Team.

RVC women KO’ed
After building itself up all season, it took less than two hours for Rock Valley’s women’s basketball team to break down. Its loss to Joliet in Saturday’s Region IV finals not only kept the Golden Eagles out of the NJCAA Division III national tournament, but it also ended the season for the nation’s No. 2-ranked team.

After a 13-game, late-season winning streak during which they defeated 10 of the 13 teams by more than 19 points, RVC lost to Joliet twice in a week.

Catching up
Carthage’s Sarah Thompson (Byron) won the College Conference of Illinois Wisconsin pentathlon title and qualified for the March 11-12 D-III National Indoor Track and Field Meet for the second straight year. She is ranked 11th in the nation in this event.

Jenner Sio (Christian Life) set the NIU indoor triple jump record when she notched a fifth-place leap of 38-9.5 in Saturday’s Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships. Sio already owns the NIU outdoor triple jump school record.

Freshman triple jumper Naomi Patrnchak (Boylan) qualified for the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships for St. Ambrose last week.

This story appeared at http://www.rrstar.com/sports/college/x868517673/Northern-Illinois-set-for-another-big-splash-in-football on March 4, 2011.

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