Northern Illinois eyeing some history in regular-season finale
ASSOCIATED PRESS November 22, 2012 10:38PM
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch has passed for 2,582 yards and run for 1,504 this season. | Craig Ruttle~AP
Updated: December 24, 2012 7:25AM
YPSILANTI, Mich. — Northern Illinois already has punched its ticket to the Mid-American Conference title game, but the
No. 24 Huskies aren’t planning to take their regular-season finale Friday easy.
NIU (10-1, 7-0 Mid-American Conference) can set a school
record with its 11th consecutive triumph and tie its single-season victory mark by beating Eastern Michigan (2-9, 1-6) on the road.
Coach Dave Doeren, who has taken the Huskies to the MAC championship game in each of his two seasons, said his team has even greater goals.
‘‘I heard only two programs have won 10-plus games the last three seasons: us and Oregon,’’ he said. ‘‘If we can continue, obviously, getting to 11, 12 and the magic number 13, it would be a magical season for us.’’
Junior Jordan Lynch has rushed for at least 100 yards in nine consecutive starts and became the first quarterback in Football Bowl Subdivision history to pass for 400 yards and rush for 100 in the same game in a 31-24 victory last week against Toledo that clinched the MAC West title. Lynch has thrown for 2,582 yards and 22 touchdowns and has run for 1,504 yards and 16 scores this season.
‘‘There’s been a lot of great quarterbacks that have played since the invention of the spread, and I think he’s shown he’s more than just a runner,’’ Doeren said.
Chances are Lynch will get plenty of chances to run Friday. Eastern Michigan has struggled against the run this season and allows almost 270 yards per game on the ground.
The Eagles gave NIU a fight
before falling 18-12 last season. But Eastern Michigan coach Ron English said that experience won’t help much.
‘‘We have a completely different team,’’ he said. ‘‘We found ourselves young again in a lot of areas. We have to play our very best game to have a chance to be competitive with those guys.’’
Graduation losses hurt the defense, but the Eagles have shown some explosiveness on the other side of the ball, especially at home. They have scored at least 31 points in each of their last three games in Ypsilanti,
including a 48-38 victory Oct. 20 against Army.
Huskies left tackle Tyler Loos will miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken leg against Toledo. He’ll be replaced by Ryan Brown, who had been rotating at a couple of positions along the offensive line.