NIU Moves to 12-0!

Jordan Lynch had a huge night despite the snow and cold as Northern Illinois beat Western Michigan 33-14.  Lynch had four touchdowns on the night, three of which came on the ground as he racked up 321 yards rushing to pad his 631-yard lead over the distant-second running QB.  Lynch and the Huskies jumped out to an insurmountable lead before allowing their first touchdown of the game and eventually led by a score of 33-7.  The spread last night was a whopping -35, so the fact that NIU didn’t cover the spread may hurt them with their BCS hopes. WMU is the worst team in the MAC (1-7) with an overall record of 1-11.  Lynch may be given some Heisman consideration but it’s unlikely that he’ll be invited to the ceremony this year.

This year’s Heisman race will most certainly include Jameis Winston, A.J. McCarron, and either Johnny Manziel or BC RB Andre Williams (who’s already achieved 2,000 rushing yards with a game remaining).  Lynch’s Heisman prospects are clouded by the conference in which he competes, which allows him to scorch pitiful defenses, and the level of competition identified by the NIU schedule.  Jordan’s had a phenomenal season and will be the player of the year for the second consecutive season in the MAC, but the more obvious Heisman contenders are also part of the National Title discourse. It’s only fitting that Winston and McCarron sit side-by-side as they prepare for their meeting in Pasadena.

The best case scenario for Lynch and the Huskies is to go out and dominate in the MAC Championship game against either Buffalo or Bowling  Green. If NIU wins that game handily it should find itself in contention for an at-large bid.   The opportunity to overcome the bowl appearance last year – when FSU reduced NIU to mere shreds of uniform, skin and bone – will go a long way toward giving serious cred to the NIU program and Lynch’s legacy.  This time around, Lynch would presumably go into a bowl game with more realistic expectations, suitable game plan and corresponding chance for success.