After a sluggish first half, Northern Illinois pulled away from Toledo in the second half for a 35-17 win to move to 11-0.
And to no one's surprise, it was Jordan Lynch who was one of the big reasons why. The NIU quarterback ran for three second half touchdowns after the Huskies struggled to capitalize off of three Toledo turnovers in the first half.
The Huskies trailed at the break 10-7, but you can't pin that one on Lynch as NIU missed three field goals. What you can are touchdown runs of 12, 31 and 1, however. That 31-yard score came after Lynch burst up the middle and made a deft cutback for the score. That made the game 21-17 in favor of the Huskies, and once Toledo made the poor decision to punt from inside NIU's 40 shortly after that, Lynch's 1-yard score after a 15-play 99-yard drive put the game out of reach.
Lynch finished with 202 yards passing and 28 carries for 161 yards on the ground and those three scores. For the season that's 2,418 yards passing and 21 touchdowns and five interceptions and 1,433 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns.
Wednesday's game served as the championship game for the MAC West, so with three games left in the season, Lynch is looking like he'll eclipse his stats from last seasons, where he rushed for over 1,800 yards and passed for over 3,100. And while he's an impressive player with impressive statistics, it won't be enough for a trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
At best, Lynch would slot in fifth behind a combination of Jameis Winston, Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron and Bryce Petty and remember, Marcus Mariota has thrown 25 touchdowns without a pick. With four quarterbacks likely heading to New York, the chances are somewhere between slim and none.
But that's not a slight to Lynch. Playing in the MAC is tough for the Heisman, and the smell of last year's Orange Bowl is undoubtedly lingering (rightfully or not) in voters' minds. But hey, Northern Illinois is 11-0 and has a chance to be 13-0 and get some BCS redemption. That's not a bad second act.
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- Jordan Lynch