Nov. 25, 2013
GAME 12 - Western Michigan Broncos (1-10, 1-6) at No. 14 NIU Huskies (11-0, 7-0)
Nov. 26, 2013 | 6 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.)
The Last Meeting
October 27, 2012
Huskies Defeat Western Michigan 48-34 for Eighth Straight Win
Northern Illinois junior Jordan Lynch (Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel HS) continued to show why he is one of the most productive quarterbacks in the country as he threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more to lead the Huskies to a 48-34 victory over Western Michigan Saturday at Waldo Stadium.
-- 2013 NIU NUMBERS TO KNOW --
0 - FBS teams with MORE wins than NIU
2 - Wins over Big Ten teams
2 - Victories over nine-win teams
7 - 2013 ROAD wins*
11 - Consecutive wins
15 - Consecutive road wins*
24 - Consecutive wins in MAC Games*
25 - Consecutive wins at Huskie Stadium*
45 - Wins over last four seasons
*Leads the Nation (FBS)
-- ACTIVE STREAKS --
Wins at Home Stadium
Northern Illinois 25
South Carolina 17
Ohio State, Stanford 15
Northern Illinois 15
Ohio State 8
Northern Illinois (MAC) 24
Ohio State (Big Ten) 15
Florida State (ACC) 14
Jordan Lynch FOR 6
Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch is the only player in the nation who is the true number one option for his team in both the passing and the running game. In the past two weeks, Lynch has led NIU on 94 and 99-yard fourth-quarter drives to defeat Ball State and Toledo. He is accounting for 63.7 percent of the NIU offense with 3,852 yards and 39 touchdowns this season. Lynch is now 23-2 as the Huskies' starting QB, and has never lost either a Mid-American Conference game, a true road game or a home game as the NIU starter. He ranks third all-time at NIU in rushing yards, behind ONLY Huskie greats Garrett Wolfe and Michael Turner.
See his bio in this release, check out his highlights and more at www.LynchFor6.com. Follow @LynchFor6 on Twitter for daily #LynchLines.
-- NIU moved up to No. 14 in the latest BCS standings and is ranked 17th (Harris), 18th (Associated Press) and 20th (USA Today Coaches).
-- NIU is the ONLY undefeated team in FBS with SEVEN road wins.
-- NIU is one of four 11-0 teams in the nation and the ONLY non-AQ school with 11 wins.
-- The Huskies have posted 11 wins in each of the last three seasons and 10 wins in each of the last four years.
-- NIU will play in its fourth-straight Mid-American Conference Championship game.
-- The Huskies are bowl eligible for the sixth-straight season, a MAC record for consecutive bowl berths.
-- NIU is the FIRST MAC team ever to defeat TWO Big Ten teams in the same regular season.
-- Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch leads a Huskie offense that averages 43.7 points a game.
-- The Huskies have won 23 of their last 24 games.
-- NIU has won 24 straight conference games, the longest streak in the country.
-- The Huskies have won 25 straight games at their home stadium, the longest such winning streak in the nation.
-- The Huskies' 15-game road-winning streak is the longest in the FBS.
-- The MAC is the only non-AQ conference with two teams with nine or more wins.
-- The MAC is the only non-AQ conference with four teams with eight or more wins.
-- The MAC was the first non-AQ conference to reach six bowl eligible teams by Nov. 5.
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: 11-1/1st
Alma Mater/Year: Indiana/1993
Basic Offense/Defense: Multiple/4-3
First Year of Football: 1899
All-Time Record: 546-465-51
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)
NORTHERN ILLINOIS FACTS
Location: DeKalb, Illinois
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: 815-753-PACK (7225)
Web: NIUHuskies.com; JordanLynchfor6.com
Twitter: @NIUAthletics, @Lynchfor6, @PrideinthePack, @NIUscores
Facebook: NIU Huskies, Northern Illinois Football
NIU 2013 SCHEDULE
WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS' FACTS
2013 Record/Conference Record: 1-10/1-6
2012 Record/MAC Record/Finish: 4-8/2-6/5th West
Head Coach: P.J. Fleck (NIU/2004)
Record at WMU/Year: 1-10/1st
Career Record/Year: 1-10/1st
Location: Kalamazoo, Mich.
Conference: Mid-American (West)
Colors: Brown & Gold
Stadium: Waldo Stadium
President: Dr. John M. Dunn
Athletic Director: Kathy Beauregard
Athletics Website: www.wmubroncos.com
Twitter/Facebook: @WMUBroncoFans/WMU Bronco Fans
Ticket Information: 1-888-4-WMU-TIX
WMU SCHEDULE & RESULTS
NIU-WMU SERIES HISTORY
Overall: WMU leads 23-15
In DeKalb: WMU leads 11-8
In Kalamazoo: WMU leads 12-7
In MAC Games: WMU leads 14-13
Streak: Northern Illinois, 4
First Meeting: Sept. 23, 1950; WMU 40, NIU 13 (A)
Last Meeting: Oct. 27, 2012; NIU 48, WMU 34 (A)
NIU HEAD COACH ROAD 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 11-0 record and a No. 16 BCS national ranking. Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch leads one of the top offenses in the nation and Carey is the first NIU or MAC coach to win two Big Ten games in the same season. 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 2011, Carey mentored two 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
ESPN2 to Televise NIU-Western Michigan
- For the third consecutive week and fourth time this season, NIU will play in front of an ESPN2 national television audience.
- Dave Lamont will handle the play-by-play call with Ray Bentley as the color analyst and Quint Kessenich on sidelines.
- The game is also available on WatchESPN.
- The MAC Championship game on Dec. 6 will also air on ESPN2.
Huskies -Broncos on Radio
- The Northern Illinois IMG Sports Network broadcast begins at 5:30 p.m. CT, 30 minutes before kickoff.
- NIU network affiliates that will carry the Western Michigan 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.
NIU 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 Huskie administrators and 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.
- In addition to the final regular season show on Monday, Nov. 25, there will be a pre-MAC Championship edition of "IHF" on Monday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.
- Hear the show live on WLBK 1360 AM & 98.9 FM and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. on WTJK 1380 AM
- Fans are invited to "Inside Huskie Football" at Cabana Charley's Tiki Bar & Grill on Peace Rd. in Sycamore.
Postseason Central on NIUHuskies.com
- Postseason Central on NIUHuskies.com gathers all of the latest information on the Huskies' postseason plans in one place online.
- Get MAC Championship and bowl travel information on www.niusportstravel.com
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.
- 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
#SEEKING PERFECTION: The 2013 Northern Illinois University Huskies (ranked #18/20/17) look to claim the school's first perfect regular season as an FBS program when they face Western Michigan at Huskie Stadium Tuesday night. Also on the line are NIU's nation-leading 25-game home and 24-game league winning streaks. Kickoff for the ESPN2 broadcast is at 6 p.m. (CT).
#DETROIT BOUND: NIU clinched its fourth straight trip to the Marathon Mid-American Conference Championship with a 35-17 victory over Toledo Wednesday night. The Huskies are the first team to appear in four consecutive MAC title games since Marshall went to six consecutive MAC Championship games in from 1997-2002 when the game was held on campus sites. The Huskies can clinch the outright MAC West title with a win over WMU. NIU has at least tied for the Division crown for the ninth time and the 2013 game will be the fifth championship game appearance for the Huskies (2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
#UNBLEMISHED: NIU's 11-0 record is now the best in school history, surpassing the 1963 NIU College Division National Championship team that went 10-0 behind College Football Hall of Famer George Bork. The Huskies 11-game winning streak is one away from the school record 12-game streak posted by the 2012 squad.
#THEN THERE WERE FIVE: The Huskies are now one of just five undefeated teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision and were the first team in the nation to reach the 11-win mark. The undefeated list is down to Florida State (ACC), Alabama (SEC), Ohio State (Big Ten), Fresno State (Mountain West) and NIU.
#TOP CLASS: For the third consecutive season, NIU's seniors are the winningest class in school history. With the Huskies' win over Eastern Michigan Oct. 26, the 2013 seniors unseated the 2012 group atop the wins list. The 2013 seniors were on teams that won 11 games in both 2010 and 2011, 12 a year ago and have 11 so far in 2013. The seniors own a winning percentage of .900 with an overall record of 45-8 and are 22-0 at home. The 2012 seniors were 41-13 (.759) between 2009-2012 and the 2011 class went 35-19 (.648). Both the 2011 and 2012 seniors' final years included MAC Championships.
#SELECT COMPANY: Since the start of the 2010 season, only one FBS program - Alabama - has won more games than NIU. After its win over Toledo, the Huskies tied Oregon and Alabama with its 45th victory over the last four seasons. Alabama earned its 46th win on Saturday to move one win ahead of the Huskies and Oregon. NIU has a 45-8 overall record, while Alabama is 46-5 and Oregon 45-6.
#MAC STREAKING: With its win at Toledo, the Huskies extended their nation-leading win streak in conference games to 24. NIU is attempting to go 8-0 during the MAC regular season for the second consecutive season. 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.
#HOME REALLY IS SWEET: The Huskies own the longest winning streak by a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team in its home stadium with 25 consecutive wins; the 25 straight wins is both a school and Mid-American Conference record. Northern Illinois is 4-0 at home in 2013 and the Huskies' last loss in DeKalb occurred Sept. 26, 2009, a 34-31 loss to Idaho. Ninety-six players on NIU's 2013 team have NEVER lost on Brigham Field.
#HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: With a 50-11 record since 2003, NIU has raised its all-time record at Huskie Stadium to 156-97-2 for a .616 winning percentage. Five of NIU's 11 home losses since 2003 occurred in 2007. Since 2007, the Huskies are 29-3 at Huskie Stadium.
#HUSKIES IN THE MAC: NIU is 122-90-2 (.575) all-time in MAC games with an 86-45 (.656) record in Mid-American Conference play since re-joining the league in 1997. The Huskies have won 29 of their last 30 and 34 of their last 38 MAC regular season contests. Northern Illinois is in its 28th season as a member of the league in 2013-14.
#MAC AT HOME: NIU has won 19 consecutive MAC games at Huskie Stadium over the last four seasons, improving the Huskies' record to 68-38-1 (.640) all-time in home Mid-American Conference games. NIU has won 71.2 percent (47-19) 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.
#NOVEMBERS TO REMEMBER: Huskie fans have had plenty to be thankful for in the month of November, as last week's win over Toledo was NIU's 14th consecutive win in the 11th month of the year. While 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 owns an eight-game home winning streak in November, with the last November loss at Huskie Stadium on Nov. 25, 2008, against Navy.
#DOMINANT ON THE DEUCE: NIU has won each of its last eight games broadcast on ESPN2. The Huskies are 3-0 on ESPN2 in 2013 with wins at Purdue (Sept. 28), versus Ball State (Nov. 13) and at Toledo (Nov. 20). Today's game marks NIU's fourth appearance in four weeks on the network and next week's MAC Championship game will make it five straight. The Huskies knocked off Toledo (31-24) and Kent State (44-37 in the MAC title game) last season on the network. Northern Illinois' last loss on ESPN2 came in the 2010 MAC Championship against Miami (Ohio).
#SENIOR DAY: The Huskies' 17 seniors will be honored prior to Tuesday night's game as they don the Cardinal and Black for the final time at Huskie Stadium. NIU has 12 seniors on defense in 2013, including six defensive linemen and four defensive backs. Offensively, the Huskies' three senior offensive linemen are joined by quarterback Jordan Lynch and tailback Akeem Daniels, who has not played this season due to a foot injury. Kicker Mathew Sims and special teamer Nate McNeal round out the group.
#FAMILIAR FACES: Former Huskie wide receiver and assistant coach P.J. Fleck returns to Northern Illinois for the first time as the opposing head coach. Fleck played four seasons (1999-2001, 2003) for the Huskies and ranks third all-time at NIU in catches (179) and fifth (2,162) in receiving yards. His 77 catches for 1,028 yards in 2003 rank second and sixth, respectively, in the Huskies single season record book. He spent three seasons at NIU on the coaching staffs of Joe Novak (2007) and Jerry Kill (2008-09). Former Huskie defensive lineman Vinson Reynolds, who played with Fleck at NIU, is the Broncos' defensive line coach.
#SERIES SUMMARY: Although the Huskies have defeated Western Michigan in each of the last four seasons, including a 48-34 victory last year in Kalamazoo, NIU still trails WMU in the all-time series between the teams, 23-15. In DeKalb, the Broncos lead the all-time series 11-8. Prior to NIU's current streak, Western Michigan claimed three straight wins over the Huskies from 2006-08. NIU and WMU have played 27 games as Mid-American Conference opponents, with the Broncos holding a narrow 14-13 edge in those games.
#ROAD STREAK: NIU's 15-game winning streak in road games ranks as the longest in the country and dates back to Oct. 1, 2011, when the Huskies dropped a 48-41 decision at Central Michigan. The Huskies seven road victories this season lead all FBS teams.
#CONSISTENCY: NIU was held scoreless in a quarter for only the second time this season when they failed to post any points in the second period at Toledo, however the Huskies still rank as one of the most consistent offense in the country in scoring. Ironically, the second quarter has been NIU's top scoring quarter with 131 points. NIU has now put points on the board in 42 of 44 quarters (95.4 percent). The Huskies have been held to three points or less in a quarter only four times with at least six points in every other period of every other game this season. NIU had a string of 21 straight quarters with a score snapped in the second period versus Akron, and put points on the board in 19 straight periods before missing a pair of field goals in the second quarter at Toledo. On the year, NIU has scored at least 114 points in every quarter.
#IS IT THE HALFTIME SNACKS?: In EIGHT of the Huskies' 11 games this season, opponents have recorded seven points or less after halftime as NIU's defense has been extremely effective in keeping its opponents off the scoreboard in the second halves of games this year. The NIU defense limited Iowa, Central Michigan, Ball State and UMass to field goals, with UMass the only team to score two three-pointers in that group. Idaho, Kent State, Akron and Toledo, meanwhile, scored just one touchdown apiece after halftime. Of the opponents who scored more than seven second-half points on NIU, the points put up by Purdue (14) and Eastern Michigan (17) came in blowout Huskie wins after Northern Illinois back-ups took over.
#NOBODY DOES BOTH BETTER: No player in the country can compare to Jordan Lynch when it comes to what he does for his team as a passer and as a rusher, not to mention as a leader. (Don't even get us started on his punting and receiving.) Start with his 2,434 passing yards on 207-of-312 passing (66.3 percent) with 21 touchdowns to just five interceptions. Add his status as the number seven rusher in the country with 1,434 yards on 221 carries (6.5 yards per carry) and 17 scores on the ground, and you have a player whose ability to do both has lifted NIU to a 11-0 record.
#CHECK THE NUMBERS: Need proof of the above? Consider that Jordan Lynch's offensive production has been equal to that of TWO PLAYERS - the number one passer AND number one rusher on most other undefeated teams. His 3,852 yards are also more than 23 FBS teams. The chart below compares the total offense yardage numbers for some of the nation's top quarterbacks and the rushing totals for each of their team's top rushers to Jordan Lynch's totals.
Team QB (Total Offense) RB (Rushing Yards) Total Offense
NIU Jordan Lynch (3,852) Jordan Lynch (1,434) 3,852
Alabama A.J. McCarron (2,404) T.J. Yeldon (1,022) 3,426
Ohio State Braxton Miller (2,364) Carlos Hyde (1,064) 3,428
Florida State Jameis Winston (3,289) Devonta Freeman (808) 4,097
#RUSHING PROWESS: Quarterback Jordan Lynch now ranks third on the Huskies' all-time rushing list after just two seasons as a starter. In 108 years of Huskie football, Lynch's total of 3,857 rushing yards ranks behind ONLY All-Americans Michael Turner (4,941) and Garrett Wolfe (5,164) on the NIU career charts. NIU's reputation as a rushing powerhouse dates back to the days when Mark Kellar led the NCAA in rushing in 1973, and includes LeShon Johnson (1993) and Garrett Wolfe (2006), who also led the nation in those seasons. Lynch needs one rushing touchdown to tie Turner for third place on the NIU career list for rushing TDs
#HARD TO BELIEVE: Hard to believe that in all of its years built to run, Northern Illinois has NEVER had two players rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. After Cameron Stingily battered the Rockets for 146 yards on 18 carries at Toledo, the junior stands just 42 yards away from joining Jordan Lynch in that 1,000-yard club in 2013. NIU players have rushed for at least 1,000 yards in a season 26 times in school history (including Lynch this year). Lynch leads the Huskies with 1,434 yards on 221 carries while Stingily enters the Western Michigan game with 958 yards on 166 rushes.
#40-40/250-250: Jordan Lynch put his name in the NCAA record book AGAIN as his three rushing touchdowns against Toledo give him 42 in his career, making him one of only nine quarterbacks all-time with at least 40 rushing AND 40 passing scores. He is also one of only eight players to score 250 points and pass for 250 points. Lynch has 17 rushing touchdowns this year, 42 for his career and at least one in each of the Huskies' last six games. He has 48 career passing TDs, 21 in 2013 for 91 (including one receiving) total touchdowns responsible for. Michigan's Denard Robinson was the last player to go 40-40 and 250-250.
#BALL HAWK: NIU safety Jimmie Ward made potentially his best interception of 2013 when he tipped a ball away from a Toledo receiver, then made a diving catch. Ward now has six INTs on the season, the most in a single season by an NIU player since 2003, when Randee Drew picked off six passes to lead the Huskies. Ward ranks tied for fifth in the country in interceptions. The senior, who has often drawn the assignment of covering the opponent's top receiver, also ranks second on the NIU team in tackles with 74 and has broken up five passes. The first Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist in school history, Ward was also named to SI.com's Midseason All-America team. He returned his interception at Purdue 62 yards for a touchdown and set up the Huskies' game-winning field goal at Iowa by intercepting Iowa QB Jake Rudock with 1:17 to play.
#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, with a 17-yard touchdown catch from Tommylee Lewis versus Eastern Michigan. Juniors have carried the bulk of the load with Tommylee Lewis (74 catches) and Da'Ron Brown (41) combining for 115 catches for 1,312 of NIU's 2,642 receiving yards (49.7 percent).
#BROWN'S BIG DAY: Junior receiver Da'Ron Brown had the best day of his NIU career with eight catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns versus Ball State. Brown caught touchdown passes of 58 and 36 yards, and added a 54-yard reception. Brown became the seventh NIU receiver to have a 200-yard receiving game, and the first player since Martel Moore had a 224-yard game versus Arkansas State in the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl. Moore's 209 yard total ranks seventh on the Huskie single game chart.
#THE HARD WAY: Over the years, the NIU football program has embraced the motto "The Hard Way," long used by NIU coaches to describe the Huskies' ability to battle adversity and overcome obstacles en route to earning team success. Use of the phrase dates back to the Joe Novak era, and it is prominently used in the team's postgame chant. Today, the words "The Hard Way" will be on the backs of the Huskies special BlackOut jerseys.
#HUSKIES AND THE RANKINGS: After defeating two of the top teams in the MAC in the last two weeks, NIU is ranked No. 14 in this week's Bowl Championship Series Rankings with an average of .462. The Huskies are the top-rated team from a non-automatic qualifying conference, sandwiched between No. 13 Oregon and No. 15 Wisconsin, five-tenths of a point ahead of No. 16 Fresno State (.412), the next highest rated non-AQ team. NIU's average ranking by the computers used to determine the BCS numbers is seven and the Huskies rose in all three polls this week. NIU was up one spot (72 points) to No. 17 in the Harris Poll, rose one place in the USA Today Coaches Poll to No. 20 (plus 41 points) and went from No. 20 to 18 (plus 44 points) in the Associated Press rankings.
#HOT, HOT, HOT: In NIU's last five games, Huskie quarterback Jordan Lynch has run for 818 yards on 115 carries with 13 touchdowns, completed 89-of-117 passes for 1,085 yards and eight scores to total 1,903 yards on 232 plays. He is averaging 163.6 rushing yards per game, 7.11 yards per carry and is completing 76.1 percent of his passes. Northern Illinois is gaining 8.2 yards every time he touches the ball over the last five games. He has scored at least one rushing and one passing TDs in the Huskies' last five games.
#BEST AGAINST THE BEST: Jordan Lynch recorded the best completion percentage of his career, and was one completion away from the NIU single game record, with his 26-of-32 passing performance in the Huskies' critical MAC West win over Ball State. Lynch completed 81.3 percent of his passes with a career-high 26 completions. Most importantly, Lynch engineered two huge fourth-quarter touchdown drives to lead NIU to the win. The 26 completions tied for seventh-most all-time at NIU and the 345 yards are eighth.
#PICKS FOR THE PACK: NIU picked off three passes versus Toledo to up its season total to 17, the highest total by a Northern Illinois team since the 2003 Huskies intercepted 23 opponents' passes. NIU ranks ninth in the country in interceptions. Safeties Jimmie Ward (6), Dechane Durante (3) and Dominique Ware (2) have accounted for 11 interceptions. In NIU's last two games, cornerback Paris Logan, defensive end Joe Windsor and linebacker Boomer Mays have each recorded their first career interceptions. Mays' INT came in the end zone and stopped a Toledo first half drive, while Windsor returned his pick versus Ball State for 49 yards and a touchdown.
#RECORDS IN REACH: Behind Jordan Lynch, the NIU offense is on the verge of making its case as the best offense in school history. NIU's offensive numbers so far this season rank in the all-time top 10 in 17 different categories and are in the top five in 12. The Huskies' 43.7 points per game average is five points better than the 38.6 ppg put up by the 2012 Huskies. With 549.5 yards of total offense per game, NIU is well ahead of 2011's 476 yards per game. Among the most significant records in reach, the 2013 Huskies need 390 rushing yards, 621 total yards, 11 rushing first downs, 41 completions and seven passing touchdowns.
#MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Defensive tackle Ken Bishop ranks fourth on the Huskie team in tackles with 59 after making a career-high 11 stops at Toledo, and his 5.5 tackles for loss are third on the team. At UMass, Bishop stepped in front of a screen pass on the UM 21-yard line and returned it 14 yards to the seven. He finished with nine tackles to earn his second MAC West Defensive Player of the Week Award. Bishop was also honored versus Idaho. Akron Head Coach Terry Bowden came away impressed with the NIU senior, "I don't think there's a better defensive player in the league than No. 93 (Bishop). 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."
#B1G BUSTER: After defeating both Iowa (30-27) and Purdue (55-24) during the non-conference schedule, NIU is 4-4 in its last eight games versus Big Ten Conference opponents and became the first Mid-American Conference team to defeat two Big Ten opponents in a regular season. The Huskies' 55 points at Purdue were the most ever scored by a MAC team versus the Big Ten and its 31-point victory margin tied for the largest in league history. NIU has more Big Ten wins this season than any team in the state.
#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.