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Jordan Lynch plans for another run at Northern Illinois

Discover Orange Bowl - Northern Illinois v FloridState

Discover Orange Bowl - Northern Illinois v Florida State

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Updated: July 24, 2013 10:32AM

DETROIT — A soft-spoken, almost reserved, Jordan Lynch appeared Tuesday.

Talking to him, you would never know the Northern Illinois quarterback put up Heisman Trophy-caliber numbers last season. Nor would you get a sense of NIU’s winning tradition in recent years, culminating with 12 victories last year, its second consecutive Mid-American Conference championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl, the first for a MAC school.

But ask Lynch about the game, a 31-10 loss to Florida State in which the Huskies stayed close for three quarters, and he’ll tell you he has moved on.

So have the players and coaches — so much so that both have initiated a ban on all Orange Bowl gear in the NIU football facilities in DeKalb.

“It washed off ever since we started our winter conditioning program,” said Lynch, entering his senior season. “I haven’t thought about it since.”

But on Tuesday, at the league’s media day, talk of returning to Ford Field for the title game and playing under the bright lights of the BCS returned.

Media members made the Huskies the favorites to win the league championship.

“It’s flattering,” said first-year coach Rod Carey. “I’m glad people have high expectations of us, but no one has higher expectations for us than us.”

Carey, described by Lynch as a no-nonsense “player’s coach,” could not have walked into a better situation. Not only is Lynch returning, but so is his entire offensive line, one that Carey helped build and mold since arriving at NIU in 2011.

Does that mean Lynch will duplicate his record-breaking 3,138 yards passing and 1,815 yards rushing from last season? Carey admitted it will be a “tall task.”

“I hope he does, but I think people need to have perspective,” Carey said. “The numbers that were accomplished last year by Jordan are hard to obtain. I think he can have the same kind of year and lead us and do the things he does all the time.”

Lynch also will deal with a new, less-experienced receiving corps after losing two of his top three receivers, Martell Moore and Perez Ashford, to graduation. Returning are last year’s
No. 2, junior Tommylee Lewis (539 yards, 11.2 yards per catch), and seniors Da’Ron Brown and Jamison Wells. Lynch said he expects breakout seasons from Brown and sophomore Juwan Brescacin, who had 223 yards receiving in nine games last year.

“The chemistry is there,” Lynch said. “People don’t know about them because they’ve only got a few reps. They’re big-time playmakers.”

A big-time playmaker himself, Lynch has worked his way up the depth chart the old-fashioned way. After backing up Chandler Harnish for two seasons, Lynch moved into the starting spot last season with mild expectations. But they far exceeded anyone’s imagination.

Now he’s in the Heisman talk again, which he called banter “for parents and banquets.”

Lynch said he’s just looking to win games.

“Pressure is a privilege, and we deserve that,” Lynch said. “Teams are going to come out gunning for us, but if we stay hungry and humble, take it one game at a time and don’t look at the next game, don’t think of rankings or possibilities or Heisman talk, we’ll be fine.”

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