Watch Purdue fifth-year senior guard Zach Reckman send a right hand into the ribs of Northern Illinois' Sean Progar after the freshman defensive end recovered a fumble on the final play to secure the Huskies' 28-21 victory.
Northern Illinois not only lost to Louisiana Tech, 17-10, in the Independence Bowl, it took a financial bath in the process.
The school has reported a loss of $154,125 for its participation in the Dec. 28 game. This despite busing the band instead of flying it to Shreveport, La.
The Huskies also came under budget in lodging, entertainment, equipment truck expenses and some per diem expenses.
The Independence Bowl has a payout of $750,000 per team.
"We have some dollars there that we got from guarantees from other sources that can pay for that trip," athletic director Jeff Compher said. "We have to dip into the other accounts that we have. I think this was done with a lot of care."
Legendary sportswriter Wendell Barnhouse recently left the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and is now a correspondent for Big 12 Sports.com. With 30 years experience of observing the college scene, his expertise is unmatched. In the spirit of Steve Harvey's Bottom Ten, Wendell will provide us a capsule look at college football's less fortunate, counting down the Bottom 25 teams in Division I-A football.
No. 19 Northern Illinois Location: DeKalb, Ill. Nickname: Huskies. Conference: Mid-American, West Division. Coach: Jerry Kill, first season. Division I-A history: 448-443-50 in 106 seasons, .523 winning percentage. Last bowl season: 2006. Best record last five years: 10-2 in 2003. Rank(ed) because: Spanning the 1995 through 1998 seasons, the Huskies lost 31 of 32 games, including a 23-game skid. Joe Novak persevered, putting together seven consecutive winning seasons between 2000 and 2006. The thud was last year's 2-10 record, a sign that the bottom has fallen out. Negative number: In last season's 10 losses, the Huskies scored more than 21 points only twice. Possible victory: at Minnesota, Aug. 30. Why not start off the Jerry Kill Era with a bang? The Gophers, after all, lost to Bowling Green of the MAC and to I-AA North Dakota State last season. Biggest blowout: at Tennessee, Oct. 4. The Volunteers' size and speed will be too much for the Huskies. Is there hope?: Starting quarterback Dan Nicholson and starting running back Justin Anderson, a 1,000-yard rusher, return. If the Huskies can avoid injuries, Kill's first season could provide a nice building block to restoring the past glory.