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Northern Illinois’ Rod Carey will make his head-coaching debut at the Orange Bowl

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Dr. Saturday

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As recently as six seasons ago, Rod Carey was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at University of Wisconsin-Stout. In 2010, he was coaching the offensive line at University of North Dakota.

Carey is now a head coach, and his first ever game as a head coach will be the Orange Bowl.

What a crazy few days for Northern Illinois, and for Carey.

On Friday, Northern Illinois won the MAC Championship Game in double overtime. On Saturday, coach Dave Doeren took a job at N.C. State, and on Sunday, NIU announced Carey was replacing him. That was the same day the Huskies sent the college football world into shock by creeping into the top 16 of the BCS standings and getting a bid to the Orange Bowl.

''It makes my head spin still,'' Carey said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. ''It has been crazy; it has been nuts. That's the only way to explain it. But it's been good; it has been wonderful. And what a privilege for our kids to go to the Orange Bowl. You should've seen our kids. They were so excited, they could hardly stand it.''

Carey has to be pretty excited too, because this has been a whirlwind for him - not just this weekend, but this entire season.

Carey didn't even come into the season as the head of the team's offense. On Sept. 3, offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar's duties were reassigned so he could focus on a battle with cancer. Carey was given play-calling and game-planning duties.

About three months later, Carey is a head coach and leading his team into a BCS bowl. NIU will soon get a good idea, on a very big stage, if Carey is the right fit for the job.

"I have full confidence that this is the right choice to keep this program moving forward and take it to the next level," NIU president Dr. John Peters said. "I believe we are in very good hands with Rod Carey."

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