NIU TB MICHAEL
TURNER PRODUCES TOP 2002 NCAA RUSHING GAME, WINS MAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DeKALB, IL --- Northern Illinois University junior tailback Michael
The Burner Turner---known for his big-play capabilities----made
a highlight reel full of them last Saturday night, put himself in the
national statistical spotlight, and then enjoyed the fruits of his labor
with Mid-American Conference West Division Offensive Player of the Week
Rick Chryst made the MAC Player of the Week announcements Monday
What an evening Turner
had. His career-best 282-yard and three-touchdown performance on 29 carries
against Western Illinois represented the top single-game rushing total
in the major-college ranks this season, plus marked the fourth-best outing
ever in the Huskie Record Book, and tied the No. 8 ground-gaining effort
on the all-time MAC list.
Michael is a
big, strong, fast kid, said Huskie head coach Joe Novak.
Hes done a great job stepping up for Thomas (Hammock).
If he (Turner) gets in the secondary, he is a load to tackle. Frankly,
I dont think people realize how fast he is, once he gets going.
Hes a 0:10.6 in the 100 meters and weighs almost 230.
Two of his three TDs
against WIU fit into the mega play range. The 82 and 65-yard rushing gains
were the fifth and 16th longest runs in Northern Illinois football history.
Coupled with the 160-yard game vs. Wisconsin a week earlier, Turner (North
Chicago) has gained 442 yards in his last two appearances and moved into
the No. 6 spot in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1-A
rushing (134.8 yards-per-game average) this week.
In the Western Illinois
contest, Turner produced six runs 10 yards or longer (18, 18, 82, 15,
65, and 14). Which made Leatherneck head man Don Patterson remark: He
(Turner) makes you hold your breath every time he carries the ball.
Earlier this season, Turner returned a kickoff 93 yards for a TD against
Turner, of course,
has started in place of Hammock who is sidelined indefinitely by his heart
related condition and upcoming medical evaluations. The MAC Player of
the Week award is Turners third of his career. As a frosh, No. 32
spelled Hammock the final two games of the season and gained 511 ground
yards in that span---including a 281-yard effort vs. Central Michigan
which gained him MAC West Offensive Player of the Week plaudits in 2000.
Last year, Turner returned a kickoff for an 85-yard TD vs. Kent State
and earned MAC West Special Teams Player of the Week notoriety.
In addition to ranking
No. 6 nationally in rushing this week, Turner stands No. 3 in 1-A all-purpose
yardage (183.5 ypg.), No. 8 in kickoff returns (32.2 ypr.), and No. 31
in scoring (9.0 ppg.). In five career Huskie starts, Turner has rushed
for 1,019 yards (and 1,917 yards overall in 25 career Northern Illinois
appearances). His 160-yard effort vs. Wisconsin also ranks as the 38th
best single-game rushing performance in the NCAA this season.
To date this season,
Northern Illinois has earned four MAC Player of the Week citations---Hammock
and placekicker Steve Azar both vs. Wake Forest and linebacker
Larry Williams vs. Wisconsin.
Turner shared the
MAC West Offensive Player of the Week award with Bowling Green State runningback
Joe Alls. BeeGee swept the two other weekly West trophies as nose guard
Alex Glantzis and punter Pat Fleming took the defensive and special teams
honors, respectively. In the Mid-Am East, Marshall runningback Brandon
Carey and Miami (OH) runningback Luke Clemens won the offensive award,
Central Florida defensive back Asante Samuel took the defensive, and Marshall
punter-placekicker Curtis Head gained the special teams placard.
(For further information,
please contact Mike Korcek)