Oct. 29, 2012
DEKALB, Ill. - For the first time this season, two Northern Illinois players were named Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week as defensive end Sean Progar (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) and kicker Mathew Sims (Hannibal, Mo./Hannibal) earned the honor, the league office announced Monday.
Progar was named MAC West Defensive Player of the Week after his seven-tackle, three-sack performance in the Huskies' 48-34 victory over Western Michigan Saturday. His three sacks are a career-high and the most by any Huskie player this season. Of Progar's seven stops, five were solo tackles, a season high for the senior. He had two sacks in the critical third quarter when the Huskie defense shut down Western Michigan's offense, allowing the Huskies to take the lead. This week's honor is the second MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honor for Progar this season and the third of his career.
Sims earned his second MAC West Specialist of the Week honor of the season after a record-setting day at Waldo Stadium. The junior scored 12 points, highlighted by the two longest field goals of his career as he connected from 49 and 54 yards. Sims put his name in the Huskie record books as he booted a school-record 54-yard field goal, 10 yards longer than his previous career high, on the last play of the first half. In the fourth quarter, Sims added the second-longest field goal of his career when he made a 49-yard three to extend NIU's lead back to 21 points at 48-27 with 4:52 remaining in the game.
The Huskies have had a player win one of the MAC West Player of the Week honors in eight of nine weeks this year. Five different Huskies, including three from the defensive side of the ball, have earned the honor in 2012. Last season, Northern Illinois players garnered just seven player of the week awards all year, with just two going to NIU defenders.
In addition to the conference honors, NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch
(Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel) was one of eight quarterbacks named as a "Star of the Week" by The Manning Award, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Lynch tallied 410 yards of total offense as he rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, and threw for 274 yards and four TDs on 18-of-28 passing. Fans can vote on the Allstate Sugar Bowl's Facebook page. Voting closes on Thursday at 11 a.m. (CT) and the top vote-getter will be announced as the Manning Award Player of the Week.
Northern Illinois (8-1, 5-0) opens a two-game homestand when the Huskies welcome MAC newcomer UMass to Huskie Stadium Saturday. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. (CT) The game can be heard on WSCR 670 AM The Score, WLBK AM 1360 in DeKalb and WTJK 1380 AM in Janesville, Wis. Fans can also watch the game live through Huskie All-Access. Subscriptions are $6.95 a month or $49.95 for the year.