DEKALB, Ill. (CBS) — Twenty-six buses full of Northern Illinois University students were on their way to Miami to cheer on their Huskies in the Orange Bowl.

The caravan carrying 1,300 students and 52 staffers started leaving the DeKalb campus shortly after 11 a.m. on Sunday, and was expected to arrive in Miami around 1 p.m. Monday.

The students and staffers brought high spirits, snacks and bottled water for the roughly 24 hour long journey, according to Dain Gotto, a university employee who helped plan the trip.

He said die-hard fans and newcomers signed up as part of a diverse group that includes students ranging in age from 18 to 56.

Alums and the university helped underwrite the costs, so that each student only had to spend about $150. That includes bus transportation, lodging for two nights, some food and tickets to Tuesday night’s game against Florida State

In addition to celebrating the school’s historic game – its first ever BCS bowl – Gotto said students are looking forward to celebrating New Year’s Eve in a warm and trendy spot.

The group plans to head back on Wednesday morning.

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