Huskies Gear Up for MAC West Showdown

GO HUSKIES Jordan Lynch gets ready to make a pass.
GO HUSKIES
Jordan Lynch gets ready to make a pass.
GO HUSKIES

Nov. 7, 2013

GAME 10 - Ball State Cardinals (9-1, 6-0 MAC) at No. 18 NIU Huskies (9-0, 5-0 MAC)
Nov. 13, 2013 | 7 p.m. (CT) | ESPN2 | DeKalb, Ill. | Huskie Stadium | 24,000
Radio: WSCR 670 AM (Chicago) | WLBK 1360 AM & 98.9 FM (DeKalb) | WTJK 1380 AM (Janesville, Wis.)

NIU/Ball State ReleaseGet Acrobat Reader

HUSKIE BITES - TOP NIU NOTES TO KNOW
^The Northern Illinois University Huskies fell one spot to No. 18 in the Nov. 3 Bowl Championship Series (BCS) rankings after a 63-19 victory at Massachusetts improved the Huskies' record to 9-0.
^The NIU-Ball State game has been designated as the "Heroes Game" and the Huskies will wear special jerseys which will be auctioned off to benefit Active Heroes; the game will feature numerous tributes to active and veteran military, firefighters and other first responders.
^NIU remained at No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches' and Harris polls, but fell one spot to 22nd in the Associated Press rankings of Nov. 3.
^The Huskies' 9-0 record is the school's best since NIU entered the "Major College" ranks in 1969, and ties the 1965 team, which went 9-0 in the regular season. The last NIU team to go undefeated for the season was the 1963 squad, which claimed the NCAA College Division Championship with a 10-0 record in 1963.
^As of Nov. 3, NIU has won MORE ROAD GAMES than any other FBS team this season with six; the Huskies' 14-game road winning streak ranks second in the country.
^The Huskies have won 22 consecutive games versus Mid-American Conference opponents dating back to Oct. 1, 2011 and own the longest conference winning streak in the country.
^Northern Illinois' 2013 senior class has won 43 games in the last four seasons to unseat its 2012 predecessors as the winningest senior class in school history.
^NIU is 43-8 since the start of the 2010 season and has won 30 of its last 32 games dating back to Oct. 1, 2011.
^NIU leads the nation with 24 consecutive victories in its home stadium dating back to 2009. The 2013 seniors have never lost a home game.
^Rod Carey is 9-1 as NIU's head coach after making his head coaching debut in the 2013 Orange Bowl. He was NIU's offensive coordinator in the last 12 games of 2012 and offensive line coach for the past two years.
HUSKIE FOOTBALL FACTS
2012 Record/MAC Record/Finish: 12-2/8-0/1st West
2012 Final Ranking: 22 (AP); 24 (USA Today Coaches)
Head Coach: Rod Carey
Record at NIU & Career Record/Years: 9-1/1st
Alma Mater/Year: Indiana/1993
Basic Offense/Defense: Multiple/4-3
First Year of Football: 1899
All-Time Record: 544-465-51
Last Bowl Game: 2013 Discover Orange Bowl (Florida State 31, NIU 10)
Consecutive Bowl Games: 5
MAC Championship Games: 4 (last, 2012, 44-37 W 2OT)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 54/16
Starters Returning: 16 (8 offense, 5 defense, 3 specialists)
Starters Lost: 11 (3 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialists)

The Last Meeting
Northern Illinois35
Ball State23
October 6, 2012
Muncie, Ind.
Huskies Defeat Cardinals to Retain the Bronze Stalk
Quarterback Jordan Lynch rushed for 207 yards and three touchdowns as the Northern Illinois University football team scored a 35-23 victory over Ball State Saturday.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS FACTS
Location: DeKalb, Illinois
Founded: 1895
Enrollment: 23,850
Affiliation: NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision
Conference: Mid-American (West Division)
Colors: Cardinal and Black
Stadium: Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium
Surface/Capacity: FieldTurf /24,000
President: Dr. Douglas D. Baker
Assoc. VP/Athletic Director: Sean Frazier
Alma Mater, Year: Alabama '92
Ticket Information: 815-752-6800

Jordan Lynch FOR 6
NIU Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch was named a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award this week in addition to picking up his fifth MAC West Offensive Player of the Week honor. Lynch, the ninth player in FBS history to run for more than 3,000 and pass for more than 5,000 career yards, is averaging 335.7 yards of total offense per game and ranks second in the nation in points responsible for with 192 on 19 passing, 12 rushing and a receiving touchdown. See his bio in this release, and check out his highlights and more online at www.LynchFor6.com. Follow @LynchFor6 on Twitter for daily #LynchLines (fact of the day).

Web: NIUHuskies.com; JordanLynchfor6.com
Twitter: @NIUAthletics, @Lynchfor6, @PrideinthePack, @NIUscores
Facebook: NIU Huskies, Northern Illinois Football

NIU 2013 SCHEDULE
BALL STATE CARDINALS FACTS
2013 Record/Conference Record: 9-1/6-0
2012 Record/Conf, Record/Finish: 9-4/6-2 T2nd West
Head Coach (Alma Mater/Yr): Pete Lembo (Georgetown/'92)
Record at BSU/Years: 32-12/3rd
Career Record/Years: 111-48/13th
Location: Muncie, Ind.
Enrollment: 17,285
Conference: Mid-American
Colors: Cardinal & White
Stadium: Scheumann Stadium
Surface/Capacity: FieldTurf/22,500
President: Dr. Jo Ann Gora
Athletic Director: Bill Scholl
Athletics Website: www.ballstatesports.com
Twitter/Facebook: @BSUAthletics/Ball State Football
Tickets www.ballstatesports.com/tickets

BSU 2013 SCHEDULE

NIU-BALL STATE SERIES HISTORY
Overall: BSU leads 20-18-2
In DeKalb: BSU leads 11-8-2
In Muncie: NIU leads 10-9
In MAC Games: BSU leads 15-12
Streak: Northern Illinois, 4
First Meeting: Oct. 4, 1941; BSU 6, NIU 6 (H)
Last Meeting: Oct. 6, 2012 NIU 35, BSU 23 (A)
NIU HEAD COACH Rod Carey
Rod Carey, who spent the last two seasons on the coaching staff of the most successful teams ever at Northern Illinois University, was named the school's 22nd head football coach on Dec. 2, 2012. The 41-year old was promoted after serving as NIU's offensive coordinator during most of the 2012 season. On the same day Carey was introduced as head coach, the Huskies made history as the first Mid-American Conference team invited to a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game. Carey coached NIU in the Discover Orange Bowl game, a 31-10 loss to Florida State. This season, Carey has led NIU to a perfect 9-0 record and a No. 18 BCS national ranking. Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch leads one of the top offenses in the nation. The Huskies' six road wins so far in 2013 lead the country. Carey spent his first two seasons at NIU helping guide two of the most prolific offenses in school history as the Huskies won back-to-back MAC championships and 11-or-more games each year. In 2012, he added run game coordinator to his duties as offensive line coach. In the midst of replacing five starters on the offensive line Carey assumed offensive coordinator duties after the season opener. In his first season at NIU, Carey mentored All-Americans in center Scott Wedige and left tackle Trevor Olson, and and three all-MAC players. A three-year starter at center for Indiana, Carey served as a team captain and won the Corby Davis Outstanding Offensive Player Award as a senior, playing for former NIU head coach Bill Mallory. He earned his bachelor's degree from IU in 1994. Carey came to NIU after three seasons as the offensive line coach at North Dakota. His line paved the way for UND 1,000-yard rusher Josh Murray (1,146 yards) in 2008 and for the No. 2 running back in the Great West Conference a year later. Five of Carey's offensive linemen earned GWC all-conference honors in his last three seasons. Prior to going to North Dakota, Carey spent the 2007 season as the offensive line coach at Illinois State. From 2000-06, Carey coached at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. His offensive units averaged nearly 400 yards per game during his seven seasons and set 14 records, including the all-time conference rushing record. In all, Carey coached 26 all-conference selections and seven All-Americans during his time at UW-Stout. A native of Wayzata, Minn., Carey began his collegiate coaching career at the University of Minnesota (1998-99) where he helped the Gophers to the 1999 Sun Bowl. Prior to UM, he spent four seasons at his alma mater, Wayzata (Minn.) High School, from 1994-97. Carey and his wife Tonya are the parents of daughter Kennedi (8) and son Charlie (6).

FOLLOW THE HUSKIES
The redesigned NIUHuskies.com
-Launched on August 29, the redesigned NIUHuskies.com features a larger video player, a social media hub on the front page, and clear links to tickets, promotions and fan information.
-Visit GameDay Central for all your NIU Football game informations.

ESPN2 to Televise NIU-Ball State
-ESPN2 will air the NIU-Ball State game live to a national audience.
-Bob Wischusen will handle the play-by-play call with Desmond Howard as the color analyst and sideline reporter Quint Kessenich.
-The game is the first of three straight Huskie midweek games that will be seen on ESPN2 in November.

Huskies-Cardinals on Radio
-The Northern Illinois IMG Sports Network broadcast begins at 6:30 p.m. CT, 30 minutes before kickoff.
-NIU network affiliates that will carry the Ball State game are WLBK 1360 AM and 98.9 FM (DeKalb), WTJK 1380 AM (Janesville, Wis.) and WSCR AM 670 (Chicago) and online on NIUTube at NIUHuskies.com.
-Bill Baker is in his 34th season as the play-by-play voice and is joined by 28-year color analyst Mark Lindo and Andy Garcia, who is in his first season on the sidelines.

Radio Shows
-"NIU Weekly" is a 30-minute show highlighting the best of Huskie Athletics hosted by Andy Garcia and Associate Vice-President/Athletic Director Sean Frazier.
-The show airs on WSCR AM 670 The Score in Chicago Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. and at 6:30 p.m. Friday nights on WLBK 1360 AM/98.9 FM in DeKalb.
-Hear from football head coach Rod Carey, Huskie administrators and other NIU head coaches.
-"Inside Huskie Football" is a live show featuring the Voice of the Huskies Bill Baker, NIU Head Coach Rod Carey and NIU players, along with special guests.
-The show airs Mondays from 7-8 p.m. on WLBK 1360 AM & 98.9 FM and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. on WTJK 1380 AM in Janesville, Wis.
-Fans are invited to "Inside Huskie Football" at Cabana Charley's Tiki Bar & Grill on Peace Rd. in Sycamore.

NIUTube (formerly Huskie All-Access)
-Hear all NIU live radio broadcasts, including football and basketball games and NIU radio shows.
-Watch live Huskie games and see weekly and post-game press conferences, video features and more.
-Cost is $6.95/month or $49.95/year.
-Go to www.NIUHuskies.com/allaccess.

Getting Social
-Twitter: @NIUAthletics, @NIUScores, @PrideinthePack -Facebook: NIU Huskies, Northern Illinois Football, Jordan Lynch for 6 -YouTube: niuhuskiesdotcom -See NIU Athletics' social media hub online to see all of our coaches' and teams' Facebook and Twitter accounts

NIU NEWS & NOTES

#MAC WEST MATCH-UP: NIU plays host to Ball State in a highly-anticipated Mid-American Conference West Division match-up on ESPN2. The Huskies will look to extend both their 24-game Huskie Stadium and 22-game MAC winning streaks.

#BEST START: NIU is 9-0 for the first time as an FBS program. The last Huskie team to go 10-0 was the 1963 NIU team that won the College Division National Championship behind College Football Hall of Famer George Bork.

#HONORING OUR HEROES: Northern Illinois University will honor active and veteran members of the military, firefighters, police and other first responders throughout Wednesday's game versus Ball State. NIU's special military tribute jerseys are being auctioned to benefit Active Heroes at www.niu.activeheroes.org. World War II veteran Albert Riippi, a letterman for the 1944 Huskies before going off to the war, will be the honorary captain. In addition, local firefighters will make a special presentation to one of their own during the game.

#TROPHY GAME: For the sixth year, NIU 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 five Bronze Stalk games, NIU is 4-1 and the Huskies have won The Bronze Stalk in each of the last four seasons.

#HUSKIES AND THE RANKINGS: NIU fell one spot to No. 18 in this week's Bowl Championship Series Rankings with an average of .3169, falling five-tenths of a point behind No. 16 Fresno State (.3675), the team the Huskies are chasing for a potential spot in a BCS bowl game. NIU's average ranking by the computers used to determine the BCS numbers is 14. While the Huskies gained points in all three polls this week, NIU remained at No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches (409 points) and Harris (727) polls and dropped to No. 22 (322) in the AP rankings. NIU is ranked for the third time in the last four seasons.

#NUMBER ONE: For the third consecutive season, NIU's seniors have claimed the title of winningest class in school history. With the Huskies' win over Eastern Michigan, the 2013 seniors unseated the 2012 group atop the wins list and the group now has 43 career victories. The 2013 seniors contributed to teams that won 11 games in both 2010 and 2011, 12 a year ago and nine so far in 2013. The seniors own a winning percentage of .843 with an overall record of 43-8 and are a perfect 21-0 at home. The 2012 seniors were 41-13 (.759) between 2009-2012; they took the winningest senior class mantle from the 2011 group, which went 35-19 for a percentage of .648. Both the 2011 and 2012 seniors' final years included MAC Championships.

#THE SENIOR CLASS: The Huskies' 2013 roster includes 17 seniors. Of the 12 defensive seniors, six are defensive linemen: George Rainey, Ken Bishop, Joe Windsor, Stephen O'Neal, Anthony Wells and Zach Anderson. At defensive back, Jimmie Ward, Jhony Faustin, Sean Evans and Dominique Ware are the backbone of the Huskies' secondary. NIU has three seniors on the offensive line in Matt Krempel, Jared Volk and Matt Battaglia, who redshirted last year due to injury and returned for his final season. Quarterback Jordan Lynch, kicker Mathew Sims and special teamer Nate McNeal round out the active group. Tailback Akeem Daniels remains sidelined with a foot injury.

#ONLY SEVEN: The Huskies entered the week of Nov. 4 as one of just seven undefeated teams in FBS. The seven teams are from seven different conferences. The undefeated list includes Florida State (ACC), Alabama (SEC), Baylor (Big XII), Oregon (PAC 12), Ohio State (Big Ten), Fresno State (Mountain West) and NIU.

#HOME SWEET HOME: NIU has extended its school and Mid-American Conference record home winning streak to 24 games with three Huskie Stadium wins in 2013. The Huskies own the longest winning streak by a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team in its home stadium. NIU's last loss in DeKalb occurred Sept. 26, 2009, when NIU lost to Idaho, 34-31. Ninety-six players on this NIU team have never lost on Brigham Field with only the nine fifth-year seniors on hand the last time NIU lost at home.

#HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: With a 49-11 record since 2003, NIU has raised its all-time record at Huskie Stadium to 155-97-2 for a .614 winning percentage. Five of NIU's 11 home losses since 2003 occurred in 2007. Since 2007, the Huskies are 28-3 at Huskie Stadium.

#MAC AT HOME: NIU has won 18 consecutive MAC games at Huskie Stadium over the last four seasons, improving the Huskies' record to 67-38-1 (.637) all-time in home Mid-American Conference games. NIU has won 70.8 percent (46-19) of its league games in Huskie Stadium since starting its second stint in the MAC in 1997. Central Michigan was the last MAC team to win in DeKalb, 33-30 in overtime on Nov. 12, 2008.

#SCORING AT HOME: NIU has scored 20 or more points in 26 consecutive contests it has played at Huskie Stadium. The last time the Huskies did not reach the 20-point mark was a 16-0 loss to Navy on Nov. 25, 2008. That game was also the last time the NIU football team was shut out, a streak that now stands at 65 games.

#MAC STREAKING: The Huskies have won 22 consecutive games versus Mid-American Conference opponents and own the longest conference winning streak in the nation. Central Michigan was the last MAC team to defeat the Huskies as they claimed a 48-41 victory in NIU's 2011 league opener in Mt. Pleasant. NIU won the remainder of its MAC games in 2011, as well as the title game, then swept through conference play in 2012 before defeating Kent State in Detroit.

#HUSKIES IN THE MAC: NIU is 120-90-2 (.571) all-time in MAC games with an 84-45 (.651) record in Mid-American Conference play since re-joining the league in 1997. The Huskies have won 27 of their last 28 and 32 of their last 36 MAC regular season contests. Northern Illinois is in its 28th season as a member of the league in 2013-14.

#ROAD STREAK: NIU's 14-game winning streak in road games ranks as the second-longest in the country behind Oregon's 18 consecutive road win. The Huskies six road victories this season lead the nation (as of Nov. 4). NIU's last road loss was at Central Michigan on Oct. 1, 2011.

#SERIES STATS: Northern Illinois and Ball State have met in each of the last 16 seasons, since NIU rejoined the MAC in 1997, and the teams have played 40 times overall as BSU is one of the Huskies' most frequent opponents on the Huskies' sch. NIU has won the last four meetings and five of the last seven games in the series since 2006. The Cardinals still own a 20-18-2 edge in the all-time series and are 15-10 versus the Huskies in league contests. In DeKalb, Ball State owns an 11-8-2 series edge in 21 games, with BSU's last victory a 27-21 win in 2007.

#NOVEMBERS TO REMEMBER: Huskie fans have had plenty to be thankful for in the month of November, as the Nov. 2 win at UMass was NIU's 12th consecutive win in the 11th month of the year. Despite playing a majority of its November games on weeknights over the last five years, NIU's last loss in the month came Nov. 27, 2009, when the Huskies dropped a 45-31 contest at Central Michigan. NIU is in the midst of a seven-game home winning streak in November, with the last November loss on Nov. 25, 2008, against Navy.

#DOMINANT ON THE DEUCE: If the broadcasting network is any indication of success, then the Huskies are in good hands for the next three games. NIU has won each of its last six games broadcast on ESPN2. Earlier this season, NIU defeated Purdue, 55-24, and the Huskies knocked off Toledo (31-24) and Kent State (44-37 in the MAC title game) last season on the channel. Northern Illinois' last loss on ESPN2 came in the 2010 MAC Championship against Miami (Ohio). Each of the Huskies' last three regular season contests will be shown on ESPN2.

#PRESSURE IS A PRIVILEGE: During one of his MANY preseason interviews, NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch used the phrase "pressure is a privilege" to describe the expectations for Lynch and the 2013 Huskies. Based on NIU's success in close games over the last two seasons, the entire team has embraced that motto. The Huskies are 7-0 in their last seven games decided by seven points or less, the third-longest "close game" winning streak in the country. NIU has won three of those games this season in wins over Akron (27-20), Eastern Illinois (43-39) and Iowa (30-27)

#35-FOR-36: NIU has scored a touchdown in 12 straight quarters and has put points on the scoreboard in 35 of 36 quarters this year. NIU had a string of 21 straight quarters with a score snapped in the second period versus Akron, but has now put points on the board in 14 straight periods. The Huskies have been held to three points in a quarter only twice with at least six points in every other period this season. On the year, NIU has scored at least 85 points in every quarter with a season-best 114 points in the second period. On the other side, NIU has held its opponents to just 36 third-quarter points this season.

#ONLY OREGON: Since the start of the 2010 season, only one FBS team has won more games than Northern Illinois. NIU is 43-8 over the last four years and going into the week of Nov. 4, only the Oregon Ducks, with a record of 44-4, has more wins. The Huskies are currently tied with Alabama and Boise State in second on that list.

#THREE-GAME STRETCH: Despite playing just a little over eight quarters in the last three games, NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch has rushed for 534 yards on 67 carries and passed for 538 yards while completing 46-of-63 passes for a completion percentage of 73 percent. In wins over Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Massachusetts, Lynch has averaged eight yards per carry and 357.3 yards of offense per game. He has run for eight touchdowns, passed for six and thrown just one interception. And don't forget about his 17-yard touchdown reception versus EMU or his 23-yard pooch punt at CMU that landed inside the 20.

#SCORING MACHINE: Jordan Lynch ranks second in the country in points responsible for with 192 on 32 touchdowns (19 passing, 12 rushing, one receiving) and his average of 21.3 points per game ranks fifth in the country. In NIU's last two games, Lynch showed his scoring versatility, running for a career-high four touchdowns at UMass and tying his career high with four passing scores versus Eastern Michigan Oct. 26. He accounted for five TDs in each of those games. He is tied for fourth in the country in rushing touchdowns (12). For his career, Lynch has thrown for 46 touchdowns and rushed for 37. In two years as NIU's starting QB, he has 44 passing and 31 rushing touchdowns.

#STREAKS OF HIS OWN: Jordan Lynch, who is now 21-2 as the Huskies' starting quarterback, extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 22 after hitting Juwan Brescacin on a 66-yard scoring play at UMass. Lynch also has at least 150 passing yards in 22 straight games. His streaks date back to the UT Martin game (Sept. 8) of 2012.

#THROWBACK?: The COMPLETE list of Jordan Lynch's career stats harkens back to the days of two-way players who dominated the college game in the 1950s and 1960s. Lynch's list includes categories for rushing (543-3,573), passing (420-678, 5,188), total offense (1,221-8,761), receiving (1-17), scoring (38 TDs), all-purpose yards (3,590), punting (3-138) and tackles (2).

#RECORD RUSHING DAY: NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch added another NCAA and NIU record to his collection at Central Michigan with 316 rushing yards on 32 carries, breaking the FBS mark for single game rushing yards by a quarterback. Lynch broke the mark previously owned by Huskie signal-caller Stacey Robinson, who ran for 308 yards in a 73-18 NIU win over Fresno State on Oct. 6, 1990. Lynch scored three rushing touchdowns and averaged 9.9 yards per rush at Central Michigan. He gained 232 yards on 18 carries in the second half and his day included runs of 28, 40, 40 and 49 yards. Lynch recorded the sixth 300-yard rushing day in NIU history and he is the fourth Huskie with a 300-yard game.

#ALL ABOUT THE RUN: NIU's reputation as a rushing team was built by backs like LeShon Johnson, Michael Turner and Garrett Wolfe. Of late, Huskie quarterbacks Chandler Harnish and Jordan Lynch have been the primary ground gainers (see chart page 8). In 2013, NIU has used a group approach to combine for 2,814 net yards on 426 carries. The Huskies have run for 350-or-more yards in five games (Idaho, Eastern Illinois, Kent State, Central Michigan, Massachusetts), has had seven 100-yard rushing games by three different players (Cameron Stingily, Jordan Lynch, Tommylee Lewis) with a 200-yard game (by Stingily) and a 300-yard day (Lynch). NIU ranks fourth nationally in rushing with 312.7 yards per game.

#ACTIVE LEADER: Jordan Lynch leads all active FBS players with 3,573 career rushing yards. He is tied for the lead among active players with 18 100-yard rushing games, including four in 2013. His career average of 6.6 yards per rush ranks third among FBS players and his 37 rushing TDs are tied for fourth. In less than two full seasons as a starter, Lynch's 8,761 yards of total offense ranks 15th among active players.

#COMPARABLE: Through nine games, the difference in Jordan Lynch's total yards from 2012 to 2013 is 148 yards. Lynch, who has played just a little more than a half in NIU's last two games, has run for 35 less yards (1,185 to 1,150) this year while the difference in his passing yardage is 113 yards (1984 to 1871). Lynch does have 21 more plays (431 to 410) than a year ago with three additional rushes, 19 more passes and 17 more completions. Lynch's touchdown total (32) is exactly even, although he has two more TD passes and three less rushing scores than a year ago.

#SENIOR-LESS: NIU does not have a single (active) senior wide receiver, running back, fullback or tight end on the roster in 2013. In fact, the only senior to catch a pass or record a rush for NIU in 2013 is Jordan Lynch. All but one of the 172 passes completed by the Huskies have gone to one of 18 freshmen, sophomores and juniors with Lynch recording a 17-yard reception from Tommylee Lewis. The juniors have carried the bulk of the load with Tommylee Lewis (62 catches) and Da'Ron Brown (33) combining for 95 catches for 1,032 of NIU's 2,095 receiving yards (49 percent).

#THE HARD WAY: Over the years, the NIU football program has embraced the motto "The Hard Way" based on the Huskies' ability to battle adversity and overcome obstacles en route to team success. Lately "The Hard Way" - which dates back to the Joe Novak era - has extended to the game itself. In winning 43 of 51 games since the start of the 2010 season, NIU is 14-5 in games decided by seven points or less. In 2013, the Huskies are 3-0 in close games, defeating Iowa and Eastern Illinois by three and four points, respectively, and Akron by seven. NIU went 4-1 in close games a year ago and won five of seven tight contests in the nailbiting season of 2011.

#MAN IN THE MIDDLE: NIU defensive tackle Ken Bishop has a fan in Akron Head Coach Terry Bowden. After the 6-1, 308-pound Huskie compiled six tackles, five solo and one for loss in the Huskies' 27-20 win, Bowden said "I don't think there's a better defensive player in the league than No. 93 (Bishop). He's the best. He's a difference maker. He's got incredible strength and explosion. Whether it's against Iowa or us, he has the ability to stick a hand in somebody's chest and just drive them back. Then he separates with great quickness. He's got the whole package." Bishop, who picked off his first career pass when he stepped in front of a screen pass deep in UMass territory last week, leads all NIU defensive linemen with 44 tackles, 22 solo. He made a career-high nine tackles in the UMass game to pick up MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second time in 2013.

#BALL HAWK: NIU safety Jimmie Ward, who is now tied for sixth in the country in interceptions with five, is one of 15 semifinalists for the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation's top defensive back. Ward, who was named to SI.com's Midseason All-America team, is the first Huskie player to be named a Thorpe Award semifinalist. The senior has interceptions versus Iowa, Eastern Illinois, Purdue, Kent State and Akron this year. He recovered a fumble at Kent State, and returned his interception at Purdue 62 yards for a touchdown. The Mobile, Ala. product set up the Huskies' game-winning field goal at Iowa by intercepting Iowa QB Jake Rudock with 1:17 to play. He ranks second on the team with 59 tackles, including 39 solo stops, and has made nine career INTs.

#STINGILY AND THE YAC: According to the NIU coaches, 72 percent of tailback Cameron Stingily's rushing yards (563 of 784) have come after the first contact with a defender. Approximately 4.0 of his 5.6 yards per rush are "YAC" (Yards After Contact). In the Kent State game, where Stingily gashed the Flashes for 266 yards on 37 carries, Stingily totaled 195 YAC yards, an average of an extra 5.3 yards after the first hit.

#NO FUN: Eastern Illinois Head Coach Dino Babers said it best when talking about Cameron Stingily after the NIU junior gained 134 yards on 21 carries versus the Panthers. "That guy's a bull," Babers said. "That [tackling him] was not fun. There's a lot of times when you're an old man, you wish you could go out there and play the game one more time. Not with him running the ball."

#ALL-PURPOSE: Simply put, Huskie speedster Tommylee Lewis defines the term. The 5-7 Floridian leads NIU, is second in the MAC and 20th nationally in catches per game (6.9). He has already surpassed his 2012 total with 62 catches. Lewis also ranks third on the Huskie team in rushing yards with 287 on just 20 carries and is averaging 14.4 yards per carry. He is NIU's top kickoff returner with 10 for 280 yards, including a 99-yard kickoff return score at Purdue. He rushed for 104 yards at Idaho and had his first career 100-yard receiving day versus Eastern Michigan with 107 yards. Lewis has also returned six punts for 22 yards and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Lynch vs. EMU on his first career pass attempt. After rushing for 81 yards on four carries, including a career-long 54-yard run, and tallying 107 receiving yards on eight catches plus the TD pass, Lewis was named to the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll for Oct. 28. The junior is averaging 126.8 all-purpose yards per game, fifth in the MAC and 31st in the nation.

#RECORD-BREAKER: NIU senior kicker Mathew Sims continues to climb the Huskie charts. The Missouri native, whose first career game-winning field goal came versus Ball State two years ago, owns the Huskie career records for PATs made (177) and attempted (183) and ranks third in field goals made (48) and attempted (64) and poins scored by kicking (321). This season, Sims has made 11-of-14 field goals, including all eight of his tries from inside 40 yards. He ranks fifth nationally and leads the MAC in scoring and in field goals.

 

 

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