NIU captured its first MAC football championship since 1983, defeating Ohio, 23-20
Career: Set 30 Northern Illinois passing, rushing and total offense records in four years as the Huskies' starting quarterback (see list). Three-time Academic All-MAC selection and was a first team All-MAC choice in each of his last two seasons. Led NIU to a 22-5 record in his final two seasons as a starter. Played in 47 games and started 45 over the past four years. First quarterback to lead NIU to four straight bowl games. Threw for 8,944 career yards on 687-of-1,110 passing for a 61.9 completion percentage with 26 interceptions and 68 touchdown passes. Rushed for 2,983 yards on 538 carries with 24 touchdowns and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. Compiled 11,927 yards of total offense to rank third all-time in the MAC behind only Marshall's Byron Leftwich and Dan LeFevour of Central Michigan, and was responsible for 92 touchdowns (24 rushing, 68 passing).
2011: Earned the Vern Smith Leadership Award from league coaches as MAC MVP. Also named the MAC Offensive Player of the Year. SI.com selected him as an honorable mention All-American. Semifinalist for Walter Camp Player of the Year Trophy. A finalist for the Danny Wuerffel Trophy. The Columbus Touchdown Club selected him as its 2011 Male Athlete of the Year. Finished fourth in the country in total offense yardage as a senior with 4,595. Honored in New York City as one of 16 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes for 2011. Earned Academic All-MAC honors for the third time. Named first team All-MAC for second time and was the league player of the year by Rivals.com. Ranked ninth in the nation in total offense, averaging 328.2 yards a game. Only the fourth FBS player all-time to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in a season (Texas' Vince Young, Dan LeFevour of Central Michigan, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick). Of that quartet, Harnish had most rushing yards with 1,379 while his passing total of 3,216 was second-highest. Ranked 15th in the nation in passing efficiency with a 153.01 rating. Led NIU, ranked fourth in the MAC and 25th nationally in rushing with 98.5 yards per game. Top rushing quarterback in the country in 2011 with 1,379 yards. Responsible for a career-high and school-record 39 TDs in 2011 (28 passing and 11 rushing). Has six 100-yard rushing and three 300-yard passing games in 2011 and 11 and six, respectively, for his career. Led NIU to three come-from-behind wins in which the Huskies trailed by at least 13 points. Threw three second-half touchdown passes - of 39, 32 and 22 yards - to lead NIU to come-from-behind 23-20 win over Ohio in MAC Championship game (12-2). Also led Huskies on game-winning field goal drive in final 1:18 to win Huskies' first title in 28 years. Completed 16-of-26 passes for 250 yards. Named MVP of the GoDaddy.com Bowl (1-8) after passing for 274 yards while completing 18-of-36 passes with two TDs. Ran for 148 yards on 17 carries with a 68-yard touchdown run that was the difference in win over Eastern Michigan (11-25). Also threw a 54-yard touchdown pass. Tallied a career-high and Northern Illinois school-record 519 yards of total offense against Ball State (11-15) with 338 yards passing on 26-of-36 completions and 181 yards rushing on 28 carries. Scored on a 49-yard touchdown run and threw a pair of TD passes. Named MAC West Offensive Player of the Week and MAC Player of the Week for the fourth time. Yardage total versus BSU tied for the fourth-highest in the country this season. Compiled 445 total yards of offense and three touchdowns at Bowling Green (11-8) on 151 rushing and 294 passing yards. Passed for 265 yards and a career-high six touchdowns on 17-of-26 passing, while rushing for 133 yards at Toledo (11-1) to earn MAC West Offensive Player of the Week honors. Became the 10th player in NCAA FBS history to rush and pass for 200 yards in a game against Western Michigan (10-15) with 229 rushing and 203 passing yards. His 229 rushing yards against the Broncos were the most by any quarterback in the nation. Accounted for 432 of the Huskies' 697 total yards against WMU en route to earning MAC West Offensive Player of the Week honors. Passed for a career-high 370 yards against Central Michigan (10-1) and accumulated 462 total yards of offense, the third-highest single game total ever at NIU. Tallied 305 total yards against Cal Poly (9-24) and broke George Bork's 48-year old record for touchdowns responsible for. Threw for 164 yards on 14-of-24 passing against Wisconsin (9-17). Completed 27-of-33 passes for 315 yards and two touchdowns at Kansas (9-10), while running for 89 yards and three scores on 11 carries. Garnered MAC West Offensive Player of the Week honors after passing for five touchdowns and running for another against Army (9-3). Finished the game against the Black Knights 12-of-19 passing for 195 yards, and rushed for 80 yards on 11 attempts.
2010: Put together one of the best seasons in school history by a quarterback while leading Northern Illinois to a prolific offensive season, an undefeated MAC regular season and a school record 11 wins. Started the last 13 games of the season for NIU at quarterback after coming back from an offseason knee injury, Originally projected to need surgery, knee responded to rehab and surgery was avoided. Became the first Northern Illinois quarterback to be named first team All Mid-American Conference. Led the MAC in passing efficiency and ranked 11th in the nation with a 157.8 mark. His 258.9 yards of total offense per game ranked third in the league, while his 64.3 yards rushing per game ranked eighth. Named NIU's 2010 Co-Offensive MVP and overall MVP by Huskie coaches and teammates. Broke the Huskies' 47-year-old school record for yards of total offense in a season with 3,366 on 836 rushing and 2,530 passing yards. Was responsible for 28 touchdowns on the year. Completed 189-of-292 passes for a 64.7 percent completion percentage with 21 touchdown passes and just five INTs. Averaged 194.6 passing yards per game. His 2,530 passing yards rank third on the NIU single season charts as do his yards per game total. Tallied three 100-yard rushing games and seven 200-yard passing games on the year. Compiled 21 completions of 25 yards or longer and had eight 25-plus yard rushes on the year. Threw at least one touchdown pass in 11 of 13 games. Capped a spectacular junior season by throwing for a season-high 300 yards and one touchdown while completing 17-of-26 passes, and rushing for 72 yards and two scores on 10 carries versus Fresno State in the 2010 Humanitarian Bowl (12-18). Totaled a season-best 372 yards of total offense in the game. Named MVP of the contest and also earned the bowl's Humanitarian Award during the week for his community service efforts. In the MAC Championship game versus Miami (Ohio) (12-3), completed 15-of-28 passes for 281 yards with three touchdown passes, including one to Martel Moore for a season-long 69 yards. Became the first NIU quarterback to earn MAC West Offensive Player of the Week honors three times in one season after picking up that award, as well as Rivals.com MAC Player of the Week and NIU Offensive Back of the Week, against Toledo (11-9). Threw for 162 yards and one touchdown on 11-of-16 passing while rushing for 149 yards on 13 carries and a score. Posted a career-long 69-yard rush versus the Rockets. Named the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 281 yards and tying his career-high in touchdown passes with three at Akron (10-2). Earned MAC West Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second consecutive week and was named Rivals.com MAC Player of the Week after completing a season-best 20-of-25 passes for 211 yard and two touchdowns, and rushing for 71 yards against Temple (10-9). In his first start of the season, scored on a 47-yard touchdown run on his way to 178 rushing yards, the most by an NIU quarterback since Oct. 6, 1990, to earn NIU Offensive Back of the Week honors against North Dakota (9-11). Also threw for 146 yards on 14-of-25 passing and a touchdown in that contest. The next week, completed 19-of-25 passes for 208 yards and rushed for a team-high 117 yards and a touchdown at Illinois (9-18). Totaled three touchdowns, two passing and one rushing, while throwing for 160 yards on 13-of-26 passing against Buffalo (10-16). Threw for 138 yards on 12-of-19 passing and ran for 69 yards on 11 carries versus Central Michigan (10-23). Completed 18-of-30 passes for 214 yards with two touchdowns, and rushed for 39 yards on 13 carries with one score at Western Michigan (10-30). Led the Huskies to a game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes of the game and hit Willie Clark on a 21-yard pass to provide the winning margin. Completed 15-of-22 passes for 247 yards, two for touchdowns, and rushed for 21 yards at Ball State (11-20).
2009: Ranked second in the MAC in passing efficiency with a career-best 137.9 rating with 11 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Led NIU in total offense, averaging 189.9 yards a game total offense to rank eighth in the MAC. Rushed for 229 yards and two touchdowns on 89 carries, averaging 22.9 yards a game. Ranked third on the team with two rushing touchdowns. Compiled 1,670 passing yards and 11 touchdowns to average 167 yards through the air a game, a mark that places him seventh on the NIU single season leader list for passing yardage per game. Started in games against Wisconsin (9-5), Western Illinois (9-12), Purdue (9-19), Idaho (9-26), Western Michigan (10-3), and Toledo (9-17), before sitting out in games against Miami (10-24), Akron (10-31), and Eastern Michigan (11-5) due to injury. Returned to the field against Ball State (11-12), before starting in games against Ohio (11-21), Central Michigan (11-27) and South Florida in the International Bowl (1-3). In two-and-a-half games back since missing three with knee injury, completed 50-of-72 passes for 573 and five TDs. Rushed for 128 yards on 43 carries and threw for 675 yards and five touchdowns on 57-of-87 passing through the first four games of the season. Compiled a career-high 337 yards of total offense versus Ohio, throwing for a season-high 307 yards on 24-of-35 passing and rushing for 30. Threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns on 17-of-28 passing at Central Michigan. Passed for 174 yards in each of NIU's 2009 Big Ten games versus Wisconsin and Purdue with 15 completions in each game, and had 184 passing yards and two TDs versus Idaho. Completed 10-of-14 passes for 143 yards in the Huskies' home opener against Western Illinois. Threw two touchdown passes against the leathernecks, including a 20-yard pass to Chad Spann and a four-yard pass to Jason Schepler. Passed for 135 yards and one touchdown toss on 9-of-15 passing versus Western Michigan. Rushed for 42 yards and two touchdowns, while throwing for 157 yards on 15-of-24 passing against Toledo. Threw for 130 yards against South Florida in the International Bowl.
2008: Started nine games and appeared in 10 at quarterback. Garnered Academic All-MAC notice. Led NIU in total offense with an average of 206.7 yards per game and set the NIU record for total offense by a freshman with 2,067 yards. Led the Huskies and ranked 10th in the MAC in rushing yards with 539 on 118 attempts (4.6 yards per carry). Ranked second on the team with four rushing touchdowns. Completed 118-of-211 passes with eight touchdowns for an efficiency rating of 120.7. Averaged 152.8 yards per game through the air, and did not throw an interception in his first four games. Twice named MAC West Offensive Player of the Week, after the Minnesota (8-30) and Kent State (11-18) games. Earned MAC Scholar-Athlete of the Week honors after the Minnesota game. Given the Shea Fitzgerald Memorial Award, honoring the team offensive MVP. Also garnered team award for Offensive Back of the Year. Against the Gophers, completed 17-of-29 attempts for a career-high 326 yards. In that game, threw for two touchdowns, including a 91-yard bomb to Nate Palmer that was the longest play of the year and stands as the fifth-longest play in NIU history. In snowy conditions at Kent State (11-18), accounted for a career-high four touchdowns, two through the air and two on the ground. Threw touchdown passes of 17 and two yards, and ran for scores of 31 and three yards. Totaled a career-high 117 rushing yards on 20 carries, and completed 12-of-19 passes for 173 yards against the Golden Flashes. Went 18-of-36 passing for 288 yards versus Central Michigan (11-12). With NIU trailing 30-6 against the Chippewas, started a comeback with a two-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Led the team to three more scores in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime. Passed for 173 yards and three touchdowns versus Toledo (10-18). Had a season-long rush of 32 yards to set up a Mike Salerno field goal in that game. Completed 20-of-40 passes for 186 yards in the Independence Bowl, including an eight-yard touchdown to Kyle Skarb. Went 14-for-22 through the air and ran for 59 yards and one touchdown against Ball State (11-5). Had a pair of 25-yard rushes in that game, the second of which resulted in a score. Ran 19 times for 113 yards, the second-highest total of the season, against Bowling Green (10-25).
High School: An all-state honoree as a senior after earning honorable mention notice his junior year. One of the Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette's Gamenight Fantastic 50 as a junior and senior. Twice selected to the first team all-conference and all-area squads. Earned the Northeast Hoosier Conference Player of the Year award in 2005. Named the Ft. Wayne News Sentinel Athlete of the Year as a senior. Participated in the Indiana North/South All-Star game. Career prep totals include 4,760 passing yards and 48 touchdown passes while completing 300-of-565 passes to go with 2,343 rushing yards on 354 carries with 35 touchdowns on the ground. Also played safety where he tallied 129 tackles, seven fumble recoveries, five interceptions, and 13 pass deflections in his career. Holds Norwell High records for career passing touchdowns, passing yards, completions and attempts, as well as all-purpose yards (7,103). Led Norwell to a 14-1 record and the runner-up spot in the Indiana state championship as a senior. Named team MVP as a junior and senior. Four-year letterwinner in football who also started all four years in basketball. Earned first team all-conference honors on the basketball court as a junior. Placed sixth in the discus at the Indiana state championships as a junior. Conference, sectional and regional discus champion who finished sixth in the State finals as a junior.
Personal: Born July 28, 1988 in Bluffton, Ind. Son of LeeAnn and Ron Harnish. Earned his degree in business management and is pursuing a master's degree in business. Owns a 3.65 GPA as a Victory Scholar.
HARNISH'S CAREER STATISTICS
HARNISH'S CAREER GAME HIGHS Pass Attempts: 50, at Central Michigan, 10-1-11 Pass Completions: 27, at Kansas, 9-10-11 Passing Yards: 370, at Central Michigan, 10-1-11 Passing Touchdowns: 6, at Toledo, 11-1-11 Long Completion: 91, at Minnesota, 8-30-08 Rushing Attempts: 28, vs. Ball State, 11-15-11 Rushing Yards: 229, vs. Western Michigan, 10-15-11 Rushing Touchdowns: 3, at Kansas, 9-10-11 Long Rush: 69, vs. Toledo, 11-09-10 Total Touchdowns: 6, two times, last at Toledo, 11-1-11 Total Offense: 519 (338 passing, 181 rushing), vs. Ball St., 11-15-11