2021 Northern Illinois-Wake Forest football game pushed back to 2026

By Kevin Kelley -

The 2021 Northern Illinois at Wake Forest football game has been pushed back five seasons to 2026, FBSchedules.com has learned.

Northern Illinois and Wake Forest originally agreed to travel to take on Wake Forest at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Sept. 13, 2008. Then in 2006, the game was pushed back six seasons to Sept. 13, 2014.

About one year before the 2014 contest was to take place, Northern Illinois and Wake Forest mutually agreed to move the game again, this time to Sept. 18, 2021.

In July of 2018, the Northern Illinois-Wake Forest game was moved again, according to a copy of a letter obtained from Northern Illinois University via a state public records request.

The two schools will now meet at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem on Sept. 19, 2026. That is, unless the game is rescheduled again.

Northern Illinois and Wake Forest’s only two meetings on the gridiron were part of a home-and-home series in 2001 and 2002. Wake Forest won the first game 38-35 in Winston-Salem in 2001, and then NIU evened the series with a 42-41 victory in DeKalb the following season.

It’s likely that Northern Illinois requested the move, as they agreed to a game at Michigan that is set for the same date as the Wake Forest game was in 2021. NIU will receive a $1.5 million guarantee from Michigan, which is significantly more than the $170,000 they will get from Wake Forest (the original contract was agreed to in the early 2000’s).

Wake Forest is the first scheduled non-conference opponent for Northern Illinois in 2026.

The Demon Deacons have now tentatively completed their 2026 non-conference schedule with the addition of NIU. Other contests for Wake that season include Liberty at home (Sept. 5) and road games at Purdue (Sept. 12) and Army (Nov. 14).

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