Huskies Face Road Test at Ball State
Oct. 2, 2012
Northern Illinois Football 2012
THE TOP TEN
HUSKIE FOOTBALL FACTS
2012 Record/MAC Record: 4-1/1-0
2011 Record/MAC Record/Finish: 11-3/7-1/T-1st West
Head Coach: Dave Doeren
Record at NIU/Years: 15-4/2nd
Career Record/Years: 15-4/2nd
Alma Mater/Year: Drake/1994
Basic Offense/Defense: Multiple/4-3
First Year of Football: 1899
All-Time Record: 527-464-51
Last Bowl Game: 2012 GoDaddy.com; NIU 38, Arkansas State 20
MAC Championship Game Appearances: 3 (last, 2011, 23-20 W)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 49/24
Starters Returning: 18 (4 offense, 10 defense, 4 specialists)
Starters Lost: 11 (7 offense, 4 defense, 0 specialists)
NORTHERN ILLINOIS FACTS
BALL STATE SCHEDULE & RESULTS
NIU-BALL STATE SERIES HISTORY
NIU HEAD COACH Dave Doeren
NIU vs. Ball State TV Broadcast
NIU vs. Ball State on Radio
"Inside Huskie Football" Radio Show
"NIU Weekly" Radio Show
NIU NEWS & NOTES
ROAD TEST: Northern Illinois puts its four-game winning streak on the line and looks to go 2-0 in Mid-American Conference play this year as the Huskies travel to Muncie, Ind. for a meeting with MAC West foe Ball State. NIU plays three of its four October games on the road.
200 AND COUNTING: Now in its 27th season as a member of the Mid-American Conference, Northern Illinois has played 200 games as a MAC team. The 2012 season is NIU's 16th in the MAC since rejoining the league in 1997 after originally competing in the league from 1975-85. NIU is 108-90-2 all-time in MAC games with a 73-45 (.619) record since 1997. NIU has won 16 of its last 17 and 21 of its last 25 MAC contests (regular season).
TROPHY GAME: For the fifth year, Northern Illinois and Ball State will play for "The Bronze Stalk," a traveling trophy designed specifically for this rivalry in honor of the locales of both institutions. DeKalb artist Renee Bemis designed the trophy, which depicts a cornstalk. In four Bronze Stalk games, NIU is 3-1 and the Huskies have won The Bronze Stalk in each of the last three seasons.
THE MAC ROAD: All-time, Northern Illinois is 47-52-1 (.475) in 100 Mid-American Conference road games. The Huskies have posted a 26-13 (.667) record versus MAC foes on the road since 2002 and are 33-26 (.559) on the road versus league teams since rejoining the MAC in 1997.
SERIES STATS: Northern Illinois and Ball State have met in each of the last 15 seasons, since NIU rejoined the MAC in 1997. The teams have played 39 times overall; the Cardinals own a 20-17-2 edge in the all-time series and are 15-9 versus the Huskies in league contests. In Muncie, the series is tied 9-9, and Northern Illinois has won five of the last six games played at Scheumann Stadium. NIU has won the last three meetings and four of the last six games in the series since 2006.
HAPPY AT HOME: NIU's win over Central MIchigan extended its school-record winning streak at Huskie Stadium to 18 games. The Huskies have not lost a game in DeKalb since Sept. 26, 2009 when NIU dropped a 34-31 decision to Idaho. Northern Illinois has won 13 straight Mid-American Conference games at home, dating to a 33-30 overtime loss to Central Michigan on Nov. 12, 2008.
RECAPPING CMU: Northern Illinois opened Mid-American Conference play with a 55-24 win over Central Michigan, extending its Huskie Stadium win streak to 18 games. With NIU clinging to a 27-21 lead and 6:38 to play in the third quarter, Sean Progar intercepted Ryan Radcliff's pass at the NIU 18 to stop a CMU drive and Northern Illinois outscored the Chippewas 28-3 the rest of the way. NIU used a potent rushing attack as both Leighton Settle and Jordan Lynch rushed for more than 100 yards and four different Huskies scored Northern Illinois' six rushing TDs.
ISN'T HE SPECIAL: NIU kicker Mathew Sims was named the MAC West Specialist of the Week after scoring 17 points on two field goals, five PATs and a seven-yard rushing touchdown versus Central Michigan. Sims made field goals of 20 and 43 yards and scored on a fake field goal play in which holder Ryan Neir flipped the ball to Sims. The 2011 All-MAC kicker has made four-of-five field goals and 20-of-21 PATs on the season for a team-leading 38 points.
BALANCED ATTACK: Five games into the 2012 season, Northern Illinois has displayed a balanced offensive attack with 1,160 rushing and 1,060 passing yards for a breakdown of 52.25-47.75 percent. The Huskies are averaging 232 rushing and 212 passing yards per game and have 56 rushing and 49 passing first downs on the year. The largest run-pass difference for the NIU offense to date is in touchdowns with 16 rushing and eight passing scores this year.
PASSING D: Through five games, and with all four starters returning from a year ago, along with back-ups, it's not entirely surprising that Northern Illinois has displayed a sturdy pass defense. Entering last week's CMU game, the Huskies had surrendered just one touchdown through the air. Central Michigan added two passing TDs but NIU's experienced secondary has now given up just three touchdowns through the air. The Huskies' pass defense is ranked 20th in the country while NIU is 26th in passing efficiency defense. A year ago, NIU finished the season ranked 89th and 69th, respectively, in those categories.
GROUND GAME: NIU gained 407 yards rushing versus Central Michigan to tie for the 16th-highest single game total in school history. The 400-yard rushing game is the most since Northern Illinois tallied 494 yards versus Western Michigan a year ago. Versus CMU, both Leighton Settle (152) and Jordan Lynch (144) went over the 100-yard mark and NIU averaged 7.4 yards per rush. Settle (46 yards), Lynch (49) and Keith Harris, Jr. (53) each recorded a long run in the game.
NO EXPERIENCE, NO PROBLEM!: Northern Illinois entered the 2012 season with a total of TWO returning starts on the offensive line as only junior guard Jared Volk, who was returning from a knee injury, had ever started a game for the Huskies. In five games, eight players have now seen extensive action on the offensive line for NIU, helping power a rushing attack that ranks 17th in the country and first in the MAC, while ranking tied for 25th in the nation in fewest sacks allowed with six. The group consists of center Andrew Ness, guards Volk, Aidan Conlon, Tyler Pitt and Matthew Killian, and tackles Tyler Loos, Ryan Brown and Matt Krempel. The best news - there is not a senior in the bunch as Krempel is also a junior, Loos, Brown and Pitt are sophomores, and Killian, Conlon and Ness are redshirt freshmen.
LINEBACKER, TAILBACK, QUARTERBACK: Quarterback Jordan Lynch, who Dave Doeren described in the preseason as "a linebacker" playing quarterback, has run like a tailback with four 100-yard rushing games and six rushing touchdowns in 2012. Versus Iowa, Lynch gained 119 yards on 18 carries, highlighted by a 73-yard touchdown run. At Army, Lynch went for 125 yards on 13 carries with an 88-yard score. He totaled 134 yards on 22 carries versus Kansas, including a 14-yard pick-up on a quarterback sneak on NIU's game-winning touchdown drive. The junior made it four straight 100-yard games with 144 yards on 21 carries versus Central Michigan and now has six career 100-yard rushing games.
BACK-TO-BACK: Huskie quarterback Jordan Lynch won his second consecutive MAC West Offensive Player of the Week Award after leading NIU past Kansas with 369 yards of total offense on 25-of-35 passing for 235 yards and two scores, and 134 rushing yards on 22 carries. In his fourth career start, Lynch surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in both rushing and passing yards and he now has 1,239 passing and 1,190 rushing yards in 27 career games played. Versus Army, Lynch added his name to the Huskie record books by passing for 342 yards - the seventh-most in school history - and rushing for 125 to total 467 all-purpose yards - the third-most all-time earning his first MAC West Offensive Player of the Week honor.
TRIPLE THREAT: NIU starting quarterback Jordan Lynch is currently ranked in the Top 20 in the NCAA in three different categories and is in the top 50 in the country in passing efficiency. After tallying his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the 2012 season with a career high 144 yards versus Central Michigan, Lynch is averaging 116.4 rushing yards per game to lead all NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) quarterbacks. Lynch's rankings and numbers:
SETTLED IN: Junior tailback Leighton Settle enjoyed the best rushing day of his career versus Central Michigan with 152 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns, including a 46-yard score in the fourth quarter. He also caught a four-yard pass and returned two kickoffs for 52 yards to total 208 all-purpose yards on the day, the most for any NIU back this year. Settle recorded his second career 100-yard game as he ran for 106 yards on 21 carries versus UT Martin in his first career start. Settle, the son of former NFL running back John Settle, spent one season at Fresno City Community College before transferring to NIU in January 2011. He gained 84 yards on 16 carries a year ago.
SERVICE MAN: Senior tight end Jason Schepler, who has now been recognized three times by Huskie coaches as one of the team's offensive players of the week after picking up the award again versus Central Michigan, has been named one of 30 candidates for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award. Schepler, who was selected as a candidate from among hundreds of nominees, maintains a 3.85 grade point average in electrical engineering. A member of NIU's Leadership Council, his return from injury has made a HUGE impact on the Huskie offense as his blocking has keyed Northern Illinois' rushing attack.
SENIOR SCHOLAR: NIU senior defensive tackle Nabal Jefferson was named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy and one of 50 Football Bowl Subdivision candidates for one of 16 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Awards last week. Jefferson, an accountancy major with a 3.78 GPA, has played in 44 of 46 games for NIU on the defensive line since 2009 and has 111 career tackles with 17 tackles for loss. A two-year starter, he has been a member of the Huskies' Leadership Council since his sophomore year.
FOURTH-QUARTER COMEBACKS: Northern Illinois' comeback victory over Kansas was reminiscent of last year's fourth-quarter wins over Ball State and Ohio and gave NIU four comeback wins in its last eight contests. With 14:33 to play, the Huskies trailed Kansas 23-13 after KU's 54-yard interception return for a touchdown. NIU scored 17 unanswered points to secure the boneyard win. A week earlier, Northern Illinois entered the final period down six points (34-28) to Army and trailed by five (40-35) with 8:55 to play before pulling out the one-point (41-40) victory. Last year in the MAC Championship game, the Bobcats led NIU 20-7 going into the final period. NIU's Mathew Sims kicked the game-winning field goal with no time on the clock.
ONE FOR THE BONEYARD: With its win over Kansas on Sept. 22, Northern Illinois added a dog bone (sticker) to the wall in its locker room, signifying the Huskies' 11th win over a team from a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) automatic qualifying league. NIU's first boneyard win came versus Kansas on Sept. 3, 1983, while the Huskies' last boneyard victory prior to 2012 was versus Minnesota on Sept. 25, 2010. For the complete list, go to page six of this release.
NARROW MARGINS: Over the last two seasons, 10 of Northern Illinois' 19 games have been decided by seven points or less, including two one-point games in 2012. NIU is 7-3 overall in the close games, with seven wins in its last eight close contests. This year, the Huskies are 2-1 in tight games, falling 18-17 versus Iowa and winning 41-40 at Army and 30-23 over Kansas.
NON-CON SUCCESS: Northern Illinois' three non-conference wins in 2012 are the most by a Huskie team since 2003, when NIU went 4-0 in its non-conference match-ups to start the season (including two wins versus ranked teams). NIU posted a 2-2 record in non-conference games in each of the last three seasons. Since 2003, Northern Illinois is 19-19 in non-conference contests.
FIRST-TIME STARTERS: The Huskies have had 14 players make their first collegiate starts in 2012. Only three other teams (Air Force, Hawai'i and Temple) have had more first-time starters this season. NIU has had six offensive linemen make their first starts and the current starting five enters the CMU game with 24 career starts. Of the 14 NIU first-timers, 11 are on offense, led by junior quarterback Jordan Lynch and including tailbacks Leighton Settle, Jamal Womble and Keith Harris, Jr. Defensively, middle linebackers Victor Jacques (Iowa) and Boomer Mays (Army) are new to the starting line-up as is defensive tackle Ken Bishop.
STAFF TRANSITION: On Sept. 3, Northern Illinois announced that first-year offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar's duties would be reassigned in order to allow him to focus on his battle with cancer. Assistant coach Rod Carey has assumed game-planning and play-calling duties for the Huskie offense, which includes three coaches with offensive coordinator experience in Carey, quarterbacks coach Bob Cole and running backs coach Mike Uremovich. Joe Tripodi, a third-year graduate assistant who coaches the Huskie tight ends and fullbacks, was elevated to a full-time assistant position and added recruiting duties. Dunbar remains on staff and attends practices and meetings when he can.
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