NIU coach contends QB Jordan Lynch is worthy of Heisman consideration
BY STEVE NITZ Shaw Media October 31, 2012 8:30PM
Updated: December 2, 2012 2:19PM
DeKALB — Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren has started to use the word “Heisman” when talking about his quarterback, Jordan Lynch.
After Saturday’s 48-34 victory at Western Michigan, Doeren said his quarterback should be getting some consideration.
Doeren talked about Lynch a lot during a news conference Tuesday and, once again, the Huskies’ second-year coach said Lynch deserves to be in the conversation for some postseason awards, including the Heisman Trophy, given annually to college football’s best player.
Lynch’s numbers certainly back him up. He’s No. 1 in the nation with 3,169 yards of total offense, and second in rushing yards (1,185). Lynch ranks first in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 32 touchdowns, and broke the NCAA record for quarterbacks with his seventh consecutive 100-yard rushing game last week.
The Chicago native has also played mistake-free football lately. After throwing three interceptions the first four weeks, Lynch hasn’t thrown a pick in his last five games.
“I thought early on I was forcing passes when they weren’t there,” Lynch said. “You know, it just comes with experience, too. The more games I play the more comfortable I feel.”
Despite his strong numbers, not to mention that he has helped lead NIU to an 8-1 record, Lynch could have a tough time getting into the thick of the Heisman race. It’s always a challenge for players from non-BCS leagues to get into the conversation.
Former BYU quarterback Ty Detmer was the last player from the mid-major school to win the Heisman. He took home the award in 1990. Former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan was third in 2007, and another Mountain West quarterback, Utah’s Alex Smith, took fourth back in 2004.
The Mid-American Conference isn’t foreign to the big stage either. Marshall’s Chad Pennington finished in fifth place in 1999, and Thundering Herd wide receiver Randy Moss took fourth in 1997.
And it’s not as if having a Hesiman candidate is completely unusual to NIU. Former tailback LeShon Johnson was sixth in 1993, garnering five first-place votes. Michael Turner was 18th in 2003 (three third-place votes) and Garrett Wolfe took 11th in 2006.
One thing that could help Lynch is the upcoming slate of nationally televised games for the Huskies. The Nov. 14 contest against Toledo is scheduled to be on ESPN2 or ESPNU and the Huskies’ Nov. 23 game at Eastern Michigan could wind up on ESPNU. There also is the possibility of playing in the MAC Championship Game, which would be on ESPN2.
“Playing on a big stage and playing well is a big deal to the media and it should be,” Doeren said. “For our players, that’s what they want They all want to be on that stage, so I know he’ll be excited about it.”