Saturday MACtion Features NIU at Akron
Oct. 16, 2012
Northern Illinois Football 2012
HUSKIE FOOTBALL FACTS
2012 Record/MAC Record: 6-1/3-0
2011 Record/MAC Record/Finish: 11-3/7-1/T1st West
Head Coach: Dave Doeren
Record at NIU/Years: 17-4/2nd
Career Record/Years: 17-4/2nd
Alma Mater/Year: Drake/1994
Basic Offense/Defense: Multiple/4-3
First Year of Football: 1899
All-Time Record: 529-464-51
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
THE LAST TIME (Oct. 2, 2010)
NORTHERN ILLINOIS HEAD COACH DAVE DOEREN
A 17-year collegiate coaching veteran who helped take teams to eight bowl games and two national championship contests as an assistant coach at Wisconsin (2006-10), Kansas (2002-05), Montana (2000-01), USC (1998-99) and Drake (1995-97), Doeren was named the 21st head football coach in NIU history on Dec. 13, 2010.
Doeren came to NIU after completing his fifth season at Wisconsin in 2010 at the Rose Bowl where the Big Ten champion and 11-2 Badgers met TCU. After spending his first two seasons in Madison as the Badgers' co-defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator, he added defensive coordinator duties in January 2008. During Doeren's time at Wisconsin, the Badgers posted a 49-16 overall record and played in the Champs Sports (twice), Outback and Capital One bowls. At Wisconsin, Doeren's defenses were consistently ranked in the top 25 in the nation; while there he coached current National Football League defenders Jonathan Casillas (Saints), DeAndre Levy (Lions) and J.J. Watt (Texans).
Doeren arrived at UW after four seasons (2002-05) at the University of Kansas. He was the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator for three seasons at KU before being promoted to co-defensive coordinator in 2005. Prior to his time at Kansas, Doeren coached the secondary at NCAA FCS power Montana for two seasons. Montana won the I-AA national championship in 2001 and went 28-3 with two conference titles in his time there.
He started his college coaching career as an assistant at Drake from 1995-97 where he coached linebackers, before becoming defensive coordinator in 1997. A four-year letterwinner at Drake (1990-93), Doeren earned Academic All-America honors as a senior and graduated with a bachelor's degree in pre-medical biology and a master's in educational leadership.
NIU vs. Akron on Radio
"Inside Huskie Football" Radio Show
NIU Weekly Radio Show
NIU NEWS & NOTES
ROAD TEST: Northern Illinois searches for its seventh straight win and looks to go 4-0 in Mid-American Conference play as the Huskies travel to Akron, Ohio for its lone MAC East road contest of the season. NIU is on the road for the second time in three weeks and plays three of its four October games on the road.
WINNINGEST CLASS: With a victory Saturday at Akron, the 2012 senior class will become the single winningest class in Northern Illinois history. With the win over Buffalo last week, the 2012 seniors claimed their 35th career victory to tie the record held by the 2011 seniors. Last year's seniors set the record with the Huskies' win in the GoDaddy.com Bowl over Arkansas State. This year's seniors (see page 4) has a chance to break the record on October 20.
BOWL ELIGIBLE: Northern Illinois is off to its best start since 2003 and after winning its sixth game last week, the Huskies are bowl-eligible for the fifth straight season. NIU has played in a bowl game in each of the last four seasons with appearances in the Independence (2008), International (2009), Humanitarian (2010) and GoDaddy.com (2011) bowls. The bowl streak is the longest in Huskie history.
STREAKING THRU THE MAC: The Huskies currently own the longest conference winning streak in the country with 11 straight victories over Mid-American Conference opponents, dating back to the team's first MAC game a year ago at Central Michigan (Oct. 1, 2011). The Huskies' 11-game league winning streak includes its win over Ohio in the 2011 MAC Championship game. Western Kentucky (Sun Belt) has the second-longest conference winning streak at nine games.
HUSKIES IN THE MAC: NIU is 110-90-2 all-time in MAC games with a 75-45 (.625) record since 1997. The Huskies have won 18 of their last 19 and 23 of their last 27 MAC regular season contests. The Huskies are in their 27th season as a member of the Mid-American Conference, and the 2012 season is NIU's 16th in the MAC since rejoining the league in 1997.
AGAINST THE EAST: Since the beginning of the 2005 season, Northern Illinois is 17-4 against Mid-American Conference East Division opponents in the regular season. The Huskies have won 12 of their last 13 regular season meetings with MAC East foes dating back to the 2008 season with the lone loss during that time a 38-31 Ohio victory in Athens on Nov. 21, 2009.
RECEIVING VOTES: Northern Illinois has re-entered the "Also Receiving Votes" category of the USA Today Coaches Poll with two points in this week's rankings. In the preseason, NIU earned one point in the AP poll and two points in the USA Today rankings. The Huskies finished 2011 ranked 28th and 26th, respectively by AP and USA Today, the second straight year Northern Illinois ended up in the Top 30.
HAPPY AT HOME: Northern Illinois owns the third-longest home winning streak in the country at 19 games. LSU's 22-game streak is the nation's longest, followed by Wisconsin with 20 and NIU's 19. The Huskies have not lost a game in DeKalb since Sept. 26, 2009 when NIU dropped a 34-31 decision to Idaho. Northern Illinois also has won 14 straight Mid-American Conference games at home, dating to a 33-30 overtime loss to Central Michigan on Nov. 12, 2008.
THE MAC ROAD: All-time, Northern Illinois is 48-52-1 (.480) in 101 Mid-American Conference road games. The Huskies have posted a 27-13 (.675) record versus MAC foes on the road since 2002 and are 34-26 (.567) on the road versus league teams since rejoining the MAC in 1997.
COMPLETE GAME: NIU played what Dave Doeren called "the most complete game" of his Huskie tenure last week in a 45-3 Homecoming win over Buffalo. Offensively, Northern Illinois gained 241 yards passing and 219 rushing as Jordan Lynch ran for 129 yards on 15 carries with two rushing scores and passed for 232 yards on 13-of-20 passes with two TD passes. Defensively, NIU won the turnover battle (3-1) and the Bulls converted just once - with a field goal - on five trips inside the NIU 20. Buffalo averaged less than two yards per rush with 74 yards on 39 carries, and less than four yards per play. The Huskies also made all of their kicks (6 PATs and a field goal), punted three times for a 43.7-yard average and converted on a fake punt.
INFREQUENT FOES: Northern Illinois and Akron meet for the 13th time as NIU has played the Zips fewer times than any other MAC opponent except Buffalo (not including new MAC and FBS member UMass). Two years ago, the Huskies defeated UA 50-14 on a rainy afternoon in Akron to push its edge in the series to 7-5. NIU defeated the Zips 27-10 in DeKalb in 2009. The teams met twice in 2005, with Akron claiming a 48-42 overtime win in the Rubber Bowl on Sept. 24 and a 31-30 victory in the 2005 MAC Championship Game on Dec. 1 at Ford Field in Detroit.
SWITCHING SIDES: A year ago, NIU wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson was on the home sideline at Akron as the Zips' wide receivers coach. Jackson, a former Cleveland Browns' receiver, spent the past two seasons on the Akron staff as the wide receivers coach before returning to his home state with NIU in 2012.
USE `EM ALL: Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren said he does not consider his decisions to go for it on fourth down "gambles" as the Huskies have converted 11-of-14 fourth-down attempts in 2012. The Huskies' conversion percentage of 78.6 percent is the best of any team that has at least 10 fourth-down attempts. NIU converted on four of five fourth-down attempts in the Buffalo game, twice scoring touchdowns on fourth-down plays and converting on fourth-and-seven when Luke Eakes ran 32 yards on a fake punt,
IN THE ZONE: After Buffalo scored one field goal on five trips inside the NIU 20-yard line, Huskie opponents have recorded just nine touchdowns in 28 trips inside the NIU 20-yard line for a touchdown percentage of 32 percent with six short field goals for a 16-of-28 overall mark. Northern Illinois ranks fifth in the country in red zone defense with an efficiency rating of 57 percent, trailing only Notre Dame, Alabama, BYU and Duke.
FASTER THAN YOU THINK: Quarterback Jordan Lynch, who Dave Doeren describes as "a linebacker" playing quarterback, is running like a tailback with 918 yards on 129 carries for a 7.1 yard average and 11 rushing touchdowns. Lynch has scored on runs of 73 (Iowa), 88 (Army) and 71 (BSU) yards, and added a 49-yard rush versus Central Michigan and a 40-yarder versus Buffalo.
100-YARD RUSHER: Jordan Lynch gained 129 yards on 15 carries versus Buffalo to record his sixth 100-yard rushing day of the season, Lynch has surpassed the 100-yard mark in each of NIU's last five games, the longest 100-yard game streak since Garrett Wolfe set the record in 2005-06 (11). He ran for a career-high 207 yards on 29 carries with three TDs at Ball State and had 129 yards on 13 totes versus Buffalo. Lynch gained 119 yards versus Iowa, 125 at Army, 134 versus Kansas and 144 in the CMU game. The junior has eight career 100-yard rushing days.
TRIPLE THREAT: Jordan Lynch is currently ranked in the Top SEVEN in the NCAA in three different categories and is in the top 30 in two more. After tallying his fifth consecutive 100-yard rushing game of 2012 with 129 yards in three quarters versus Buffalo, Lynch is averaging 131.1 rushing yards per game to rank fifth in the country (among all players) and second (behind Michigan's Denard Robinson) among all NCAA FBS quarterbacks. Lynch's rankings: Category Rank Average Rushing 5th 131.14 Points Responsible For 6th 18.86 Total Offense 7th 343.57 Scoring T25th 9.43 Passing Efficiency 28th 148.43
TWO IN THE DEBUT: In his first career start, Northern Illinois freshman cornerback Marlon Moore picked off two passes, broke up another and made five tackles, four solo, to garner MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honors. Both of Moore's interceptions came inside the NIU 20-yard line to stop Buffalo drives.
SEVEN STRAIGHT: Freshman cornerback Marlon Moore's selection as MAC West Defensive Player of the Week marks the seventh time in seven weeks that a Northern Illinois player has claimed one of the MAC West weekly awards. Moore is the third NIU defender to be named MAC West Player of the Week, joining Sean Progar (vs. Iowa) and Jimmie Ward (UT Martin). Quarterback Jordan Lynch is a three-time MAC West Offensive Player of the Week (vs. Ball State, Army and Kansas), and kicker Mathew Sims picked up the Specialist honor for his performance versus Central Michigan. Overall, NIU's string of MAC Player of the Week honors is nine, including the awards earned by Chandler Harnish (Ball State) and Sean Progar (Eastern Michigan) in the last two weeks of 2011.
MOBILE MEN: With Marlon Moore added to the Huskie line-up at cornerback, half of the Huskies' starting defensive backfield came to DeKalb from Mobile, Alabama. Moore, a true freshman from C.F. Vigor High School, joined safety Jimmie Ward (Davidson HS) at NIU this season and, like Ward, has made an immediate impact. Ward is the Huskies' leading tackler with 65 stops and he and Moore are tied for the team lead with two interceptions each.
ELITE COMPANY: With 133 receiving yards on eight catches versus Buffalo, Northern Illinois senior receiver Martel Moore became just the fifth player in NIU history to pass the 2,000-yard mark in career receiving yards. Moore, who has seven career 100-yard receiving games, has caught 139 passes for 2,004 yards in 47 games with 17 touchdowns. He ranks fifth all-time at NIU in receiving yards, seventh in touchdown catches and ninth in catches.
COMEBACK-ABILITY: At Ball State, the Huskies once again displayed the resiliency and ability to come back from a fourth-quarter deficit that has become a trademark of the program under Dave Doeren. NIU trailed Ball State 23-21 entering the final period and scored 14 points in the final five minutes of the game to claim the 12-point win. The come-from-behind win was NIU's third of the season. The Huskies trailed Kansas 23-13 with 14:33 to play and came back for a 30-23 victory on Sept. 22 at Huskie Stadium. 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 41-40 victory. The Huskies have come back to win in the fourth quarter in five of its last 10 games, including versus Ball State and Ohio last year.
NO EXPERIENCE, NO PROBLEM: Northern Illinois entered the 2012 season with a total of TWO returning starts on the offensive line as only guard Jared Volk, who was returning from a knee injury, had ever started a game for the Huskies. Eight players make up the offensive line rotation for NIU, helping power a rushing attack that ranks 12th in the country and first in the MAC. There is not a senior in the bunch as tackle Matt Krempel and Volk are juniors, tackles Tyler Loos and Ryan Brown and guard Tyler Pitt are sophomores, and guards Matthew Killian and Aidan Conlon, and center Andrew Ness are redshirt freshmen.
SERVICE MAN: Senior tight end Jason Schepler, who has been recognized three times by Huskie coaches as one of the team's offensive players of the week, is 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.
WATCH LISTER: For the second consecutive season, Huskie DE Sean Progar was named to the preseason watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award, presented to the nation's top lineman/linebacker. NIU's most experienced returning player with 41 starts in 47 career games, Progar has 149 tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss and 17.5 quarterback sacks in his NIU career.
SENIOR SCHOLAR: NIU senior defensive tackle Nabal Jefferson has been 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. Jefferson, an accountancy major with a 3.78 GPA, has played in 46 of 48 games for NIU on the defensive line since 2009 and has 118 career tackles with 18 tackles for loss. A two-year starter, he has been a member of the Huskies' Leadership Council since his sophomore year.
STAFF TRANSITION: On Sept. 3, Northern Illinois announced that first-year offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar's duties would be reassigned so that he could focus on his battle with cancer. Offensive line coach Rod Carey is handling game-planning and play-calling duties. 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 responsibilities. Dunbar remains on staff and attends practices and meetings when he can.
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