NIU Closes Out October Road Stretch in Kalamazoo
Oct. 23, 2012
Northern Illinois Football 2012
1. After finishing the 2011 season on a nine-game winning streak, Northern Illinois has won its last seven games and is one of three teams in the country - along with Alabama and Oregon - to win 16 of its last 17 games.
2. NIU plays the third of four October road games Saturday at Western Michigan looking to extend a six-game road winning streak.
3. Northern Illinois' 12-game winning streak in conference games (since Oct. 1, 2011) is the longest in the nation.
4. NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch has more rushing yards (1,049) than 42 TEAMS and has more yards of total offense (2,759) than 40 FBS squads. His yardage numbers rank second (rushing) and first (total offense) in the country.
5. Northern Illinois is bowl eligible for the fifth straight season and NIU's 7-1 start matches its best start (2003, 1983) since the 1965 Huskies went 9-0.
6. NIU head coach Dave Doeren has guided the Huskies to a stellar 18-4 record in two seasons at the helm of the program.
7. Defensively, Northern Illinois has given up just one touchdown - and 10 total points - over the last nine quarters; the Huskies rank fifth in the nation in red zone defense. and lead the MAC in pass efficiency defense.
8. Northern Illinois is literally one play away from an 8-0 record as Iowa scored its lone touchdown of the season-opener on a 23-yard run on third-and-nine with 2:15 to play, giving the Hawkeyes a 18-17 victory over NIU.
9. Over the last 10 years, Northern Illinois is the winningest program in the Mid-American Conference (85-50, a 63.0 winning percentage) and leads all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the state of Illinois since 2002.
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ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Northern Illinois plays back-to-back road games for the only time this season when the Huskies visit Kalamazoo to take on Mid-American Conference West Division foe Western MIchigan. NIU plays three of its four October games on the road.
MORE WINS: With Saturday's win at Akron, Northern Illinois' 2012 senior class unseated their 2011 counterparts as the winningest senior class in NIU history. Eight games into the season, the 2012 seniors have 36 wins (2009-12); last year's seniors set the record with the Huskies' win in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. See page four for more on NIU's 16 seniors.
BEST START: At 7-1, Northern Illinois has equalled the record posted by both the 1983 and 2003 teams through eight games, matching the best start by NIU in its major college history (since 1969). The last Huskie team to open a season with a better record was the 1965 squad that went 9-0 in the regular season before falling to North Dakota in the Mineral Water Bowl.
BOWL ELIGIBLE: With its win over Buffalo, the Huskies sixth of the season, NIU became bowl-eligible for the fifth straight season. NIU has ended each of the last four seasons at a bowl game 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 12 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' 12-game MAC winning streak includes its win over Ohio in the 2011 MAC Championship game.
HUSKIES IN THE MAC: NIU is 111-90-2 all-time in MAC games with a 76-45 (.628) record since 1997. The Huskies have won 19 of their last 20 and 24 of their last 28 MAC regular season contests. Northern Illinois is in its 27th season as a member of the Mid-American Conference; the 2012 season is NIU's 16th in the MAC since rejoining the league in 1997.
RECEIVING VOTES: Northern Illinois has re-entered the "Also Receiving Votes" category of the three college football polls. NIU is in the USA Today Coaches Poll for the second straight week and now has 14 points after garnering two points a week ago. Northern Illinois has five points in this week's Associated Press Poll and seven points in the Harris Interactive Poll. In the preseason, NIU earned one point in the AP poll and two points from the coaches. 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: Following Saturday's game in Kalamazoo, NIU returns home, where 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's 21 straight wins. The Huskies have not lost a game in DeKalb since Sept. 26, 2009, when Idaho claimed a 34-31 win. 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 49-52-1 (.485) in 102 Mid-American Conference road games. The Huskies have posted a 28-13 (.683) record versus MAC foes on the road since 2002 and are 35-26 (.574) on the road versus league teams since rejoining the MAC in 1997.
SERIES SUMMARY: Northern Illinois has defeated Western Michigan in each of the last three seasons but still trails WMU in the all-time series, 23-14. The Broncos have won 12 of the 18 games played in Kalamazoo. Prior to NIU's current streak, Western Michigan claimed three straight wins in the series from 2006-08. NIU and WMU have played 26 games as conference opponents; the Broncos hold a narrow 14-12 edge in those games.
ZIPPED UP: Northern Illinois held Akron to just 199 yards of total offense and one touchdown, while Jordan Lynch accounted for four scores - two rushing and two passing - to give the Huskies a 37-7 Mid-American Conference win over the Zips in Akron. Lynch totaled 131 rushing yards on 20 carries with touchdown runs of 15 and 35 yards, and 233 passing yards with 20 completions in 33 attempts. Northern Illinois sacked Akron quarterback Dalton Williams five times and forced three turnovers.
LEADING THE NATION: With 2,759 total yards, NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch has accounted for more yards of total offense than any other player in the country. Lynch has 1,049 rushing yards on 149 carries to rank second in the nation behind Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson in rushing yards. Lynch has accounted for more yards of total offense than 40 FBS teams, including Florida, Stanford and Notre Dame. His rushing total is higher than 42 teams, including Penn State, West Virginia, Arkansas and Miami (Fla.). Lynch's averages of 344.9 yards of total offense and 131.1 rushing yards per game, rank sixth in the country.
TOUGHER THAN YOU: Quarterback Jordan Lynch, who Dave Doeren describes as "a linebacker" playing quarterback, lived up to that description at Akron by absolutely running over Zips' cornerback Avis Commack, a transfer from Florida State, on his way to the end zone on his 15-yard rushing touchdown with 19 seconds to play in the half. Lynch finished the game with 131 rushing yards on 20 carries and two scores to record his sixth straight 100-yard rushing game, his seventh of the season and ninth of his career.
GROUND GAME: Jordan Lynch has already surpassed the thousand-yard mark in rushing with 1,049 yards, becoming the latest member of NIU's 1,000-yard club. The Huskies have now had a 1,000-yard rusher in 13 of the last 14 seasons dating back to 1999. Lynch's total already ranks in NIU's single season Top 20, and he is on pace to break the NCAA FBS record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season, set by Michigan's Denard Robinson in 2010 with 1,702 yards.
HE CAN PASS TOO: It's not all about the rush for Jordan Lynch. The NIU junior is directing a successful passing attack as he has completed 61.1 percent (129-of-211) of his passes for 1,710 yards. He leads the MAC in passing efficiency with a 146.70 mark. Lynch enters the Western Michigan game with only three interceptions on the year and has not been picked off in four games (since the Kansas game) and 118 attempts.
UNDER PRESSURE: Northern Illinois collected five sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss Saturday as the Huskies' front seven continues to put opposing offenses under pressure. Led by defensive ends Alan Baxter and Joe Windsor, who lead NIU with 6.5 sacks apiece, Northern Illinois is averaging 2.75 sacks per game and ranks tied for 20th nationally. Baxter and Windsor are both enjoying career years on the edge but they have help in senior Sean Progar, who had a pair of sacks at Akron to put his season total at four. The Huskies are even better against the run with 59 tackles for loss to average 7.38 per contest, which is 18th nationally. Windsor, linebacker Tyrone Clark and Baxter have 10, 8.5 and eight tackles for loss, respectively, to lead Northern Illinois.
LONG WAIT: Huskie senior tight end Jason Schepler's second career touchdown catch, and his first catch of the season, came nearly two years after his last reception. After coming back from tearing his ACL twice over the last 18 months, Schepler's 13-yard grab in the end zone where Jordan Lynch found him wide open, was certainly not his most difficult grab, but may go down as his most memorable. NIU's offensive senior leader, Schepler has helped power the Huskie running attack (currently ranked ninth in the country), as a dominant blocking force with an amazing 33 pancake blocks through eight games. He has been named one of the team' offensive players of the week three times. Prior to Akron, Schepler's last catch came in the 2010 MAC Championship game.
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 2012 offensive line rotation, helping power a rushing attack that ranks ninth in the country and leads the MAC as the Huskies average almost 250 yards per game. 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.
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 67 stops and ranks second on the team with eight pass break-ups; he and Moore are tied for the team lead with two interceptions each.
SEVEN STRAIGHT: Freshman cornerback Marlon Moore's selection as MAC West Defensive Player of the Week versus Buffalo gave the Huskies their seventh player of the week award in the first seven weeks of the season. Moore was 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 reached nine, including the awards earned by Chandler Harnish (Ball State) and Sean Progar (Eastern Michigan) in the last two weeks of 2011, before coming to an end this week.
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 12-of-15 fourth-down attempts in 2012. At Akron, Jordan Lynch's 35-yard touchdown run came on fourth-and-two, marking the third time in the last two games that NIU has not only converted, but scored, on fourth down. The Huskies' 80 percent conversion rate is the best of any team that has at least 15 attempts. NIU converted on four of five fourth-down attempts versus Buffalo, twice scoring touchdowns on fourth-down plays and converting once on a when a fake punt,
MAC ONLY NUMBERS: In its four games versus MAC opponents, Northern Illinois is averaging 311.2 rushing yards per game, 6.3 yards per rush and has scored 16 rushing touchdowns while holding opponents to 93.8 yards on the ground, a 2.8-yard average and two rushing scores. Overall, the Huskies have outscored their league opponents 172-57 and given up just six touchdowns (three by Central Michigan). Perhaps most impressively, Northern Illinois has SHUT OUT its four MAC opponents in the fourth quarter while scoring 45 points of its own.
MORE, MORE, MOORE: Northern Illinois senior receiver Martel Moore is scaling the Huskie record books with every catch, yard and touchdown. Moore caught his 18th career touchdown pass at Akron, and his seventh of the season, and has 144 career catches for 2,058 yards. He is just the fifth player in NIU history to pass the 2,000-yard mark in career receiving yards, and the first since 2005. He has seven career 100-yard receiving games. The Texan ranks fifth all-time at NIU in receiving yards, sixth in catches and tied for sixth in touchdown catches.
COMEBACK-ABILITY: In 2012, the Huskies once again have 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, NIU's third come-from-behind victory 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.
SENIOR SCHOLAR: NIU defensive tackle Nabal Jefferson has been named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy and one of 50 Football Bowl Subdivision candidates for a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award. Jefferson, an accountancy major with a 3.78 GPA, has played in 47 of 49 games for NIU since 2009 and has 124 career tackles with 20 tackles for loss. The two-year starter 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.
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