NIU Huskies prep for Orange Bowl in Miami - FOX 35 News Orlando

PHOTOS: NIU Huskies prep for Orange Bowl in Miami

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Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher.
MIAMI, Fla. (FOX 32 News) -

Huskies like the snow. But the NIU Huskies took in the Florida sun Thursday morning as they began preparations for the Orange Bowl, where they'll face the Florida State Seminoles on New Year's Day.

It's an exciting time to be a Northern Illinois Huskies fan. This is a big game, and a huge opportunity. It will be just one month since Rod Carey was named head coach, and he'll be leading the Huskies to what they hope will be a victory over Florida State.

SEE: Rod Carey is NIU's new Head Football Coach

Northern has bowl experience. They have been to seven games, most recently the International Bowl, The Independence Bowl, Humanitarian Bowl and the GoDaddy.com Bowl.

They don't exactly have the same ring as the Orange Bowl, which they began to realize even more when they arrived in Miami Wednesday afternoon. When they left Chicago, it was 28 degrees. It was 82 when they landed on Wednesday.

That certainly is a major difference for them, but they know what they need to do. The team also knows they are a heavy underdog, so players are trying to stay focused on what they have to do, and proving they belong in this game.

SEE: NIU gets BCS Bid and Florida St. in Orange Bowl Jan. 1

They will take to the practice field for the first time Thursday afternoon. The team has a very busy schedule while they are in Florida, including charity appearances and a beach party later Thursday afternoon.

The excitement in the air is palpable. Head coach Rod Carey spoke with FOX 32 News about how the team is feeling.

"It just became real. So far it's been this way off in the distance thing," Carey said. "Now we're at the Orange Bowl. We're excited."

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