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Northern Illinois will play Coastal Carolina in the 2021 Cure Bowl

Northern Illinois rides the momentum from its MAC championship into Orlando.

NCAA Football: MAC Championship-Kent State vs Northern Illinois Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The MAC champions are headed to Orlando!

One day after Northern Illinois locked up its fifth MAC championship since 2011, the Huskies discovered their bowl destination. Northern Illinois looks to cap off its special season with a Cure Bowl victory over Coastal Carolina on Dec. 17.

The Tailgreeter Cure Bowl is the second game in the 2021 bowl slate and the first to take place in United States territory. Northern Illinois is set to become the first MAC team to ever participate in the bowl which was founded in 2015 with a mission beyond the game itself. The Cure Bowl is aptly named for its cause, as proceeds from the event go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Per the game’s official website, the bowl has raised $3.88 million for breast cancer research since its inception.

Northern Illinois (9-4, 6-2 MAC) completed one of the most unlikely turnarounds in college football history. For the first time ever, a team followed up a winless season (0-6 in 2020) with a conference championship. The Huskies defeated Kent State 41-23 in the MAC Championship Game in Detroit to win their second MAC title in four years and their first of the Thomas Hammock era. Northern Illinois looks to shatter its 6-game bowl skid and win its first since the 2011 GoDaddy.com Bowl — a game which followed up Northern Illinois’ first-ever MAC Championship Game victory.

Coastal Carolina (10-2, 6-2 Sun Belt) emerged to national prominence in 2020 with an undefeated regular season under head coach Jamey Chadwell. The Chanticleers lost one game that season, which happened to be an overtime defeat in the Cure Bowl to Liberty. Coastal Carolina has the opportunity to avenge that loss in the same city and earn its first bowl victory in program history.

The 2021 Cure Bowl kicks off Friday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. ET in Orlando. From 2015-18 and 2020, the event was held in Camping World Stadium. However, the 2019 venue of Exploria Stadium — the home of Orlando’s professional men’s and women’s soccer teams — will make a return for this year’s Cure Bowl. Exploria Stadium will feature the first ever matchup between Northern Illinois and Coastal Carolina.