The Northern Illinois Huskies are back in a familiar place: bowl season. In 2016, Northern Illinois snapped an eight-year bowl streak, but the Huskies rebounded with a winning season and drew a matchup against Duke in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit on December 26.
NIU (8-4) will be the lone MAC team that gets to battle the Power Five in the 2017 bowl calendar. Fittingly, Rod Carey's program was one of four MAC teams to defeat a Power Five opponent this season, as it stunned Nebraska 21-17 on the road in Lincoln back in September.
Carey will be searching for his first bowl victory in five tries after debuting his head coaching career in the 2012 Orange Bowl against Florida State — NIU's last bowl game versus the ACC.
Duke (6-6) experienced a roller coaster season. The Blue Devils, participants in the 2013 and 2014 ACC Championship Games, also missed bowl season in 2016. But David Cutcliffe and his team looked sure to return to the postseason after a 4-0 start to the year, which included a 41-17 win over a now-ranked Northwestern team. However, the Blue Devils dropped their next six, including losses to Virginia, Pitt, and Army. Duke required upsets over Georgia Tech and Wake Forest to qualify for bowl eligibility, and the team executed in convincing fashion.
In 2015, Duke defeated Indiana in overtime in the Pinstripe Bowl, marking the program's first bowl victory since 1960. Meanwhile, Northern Illinois is riding a four-game losing streak in the postseason, earning its last win in the GoDaddy.com Bowl following the 2011 season.
Northern Illinois is 0-1 against the ACC this season, losing 23-20 to Boston College in the season opener in DeKalb. Duke has yet to play a team from the MAC.
The 2017 Quick Lane Bowl kicks off at 5:15 pm EST on December 26. The game will take place at Ford Field in Detroit, MI.