Lynch ran for 321 yards on 27 carries and scored three times in Northern Illinois' 33-14 victory to seal a 12-0 regular season. That's an FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback.
That gives Lynch 1755 yards on 248 carries this season with two games left to play -- the MAC Championship and a bowl game. Last year, Lynch ran for 1815 yards, so that number will likely be passed next Friday. He also has more touchdowns on the ground (20) this year than he had all of last season (19).
And Lynch's passing numbers are comparable to last season too. He likely won't hit last year's yardage total of 3,138, but his completion percentage is up four points and he's got 22 touchdown passes after tossing 25 last season.
Even if Lynch exceeds last year's statistics, there's still one knock against him: his team plays in the MAC. But how large should that knock be?
(Full disclosure, yours truly initially dismissed Lynch's performance in the second quarter on Twitter because of the atrocious opponent. But 321 rushing yards is incredibly impressive, no matter who it's against.)
Had Johnny Manziel not had a poor game against LSU and Marcus Mariota and Oregon not looked horrible against Arizona, Lynch is still a sleeper for the Heisman; a candidate who receives some attention but isn't seriously considered for an invitation. Now, with those two seemingly eliminated and Lynch putting on a show on national television Tuesday night, he's seriously in the conversation.
And he should be. But that doesn't mean that he'll win it. Florida State's Jameis Winston is still the favorite right now, and Alabama's AJ McCarron is No. 2 while Boston College's Andre Williams is lurking.
The arguments against McCarron and Lynch are somewhat intertwined. One of the points against McCarron's candidacy is the NFL talent around him and in Lynch's case, it's the talent he's playing against. (Let's not also forget the NFL pipeline that Florida State has been.)
But as the AP's Ralph Russo pointed out last night, you could make an argument of relativity between the two quarterbacks.
NIU is good beyond Lynch. O-line in particular. But if you took Lynch off NIU drop would be more drastic than if you took McCarron off BAma
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) November 27, 2013
Lynch's competition isn't as good as the players from power conferences but relatively speaking he is more dominant against his competition. — Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) November 27, 2013
Heck, Lynch has run for more yards and touchdowns this season than Alabama's Mark Ingram did in 2009. Ingram won the Heisman that season.
Heisman voting concludes December 9. The MAC Championship is December 6. If Lynch and the Huskies win the MAC again and continue on the path to a BCS bowl, he deserves to fully be in the argument. He may not win it, but legitimate inclusion is a big step.
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