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Lynch sets QB rushing mark in Northern Illinois win

The SportsXchange

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- It took a dynamic Northern Illinois quarterback to break the 23-year-old rushing record set by one of his predecessors.

Jordan Lynch rushed for 316 yards -- an FBS record for a quarterback in a game -- and scored three touchdowns on 32 carries, lifting unbeaten Northern Illinois to a 38-17 victory over Central Michigan on Saturday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Lynch broke the mark established by NIU quarterback Stacey Robinson, who had 308 yards rushing against Fresno State on Oct. 6, 1990. Lynch, whose previous career high was 207 yards against Ball State last season, had 232 rushing yards after halftime. He finished 37 yards shy of Garrett Wolfe's school record of 353 rushing yards, set against Ball State in 2006.

Most of runs came in-between the tackles, as his linemen consistently opened gaping holes.

"The offensive line was getting to the second and third level," Lynch said. "They were getting a great push and that's why we got all those rushing yards. It could have been anyone rushing the ball in that game. The holes were so wide open. It was nothing I did. It was the offensive line and tight end getting that second and third push."

Lynch also passed for 155 yards and a score for Northern Illinois (7-0 overall, 3-0 Mid-American Conference West), which has won 20 straight over conference opponents. The Huskies outscored the Chippewas 24-3 in the second half.

Tommylee Lewis had 10 receptions and scored a touchdown for the No. 23 Huskies, who have won 13 straight road games, the second-longest current streak nationally behind Oregon's 18-game run.

"We had a few good plays going into the game that we knew would work," Lynch said. "They stopped us early on and we started doing some different things, putting window dressing to it, and before you knew it, the ends were flying up field and we were hitting the A gap."

Central Michigan coach Dan Enos credited Northern Illinois for controlling the line of scrimmage.

"He's a great player," Enos said of Lynch. "I'm not taking anything from Jordan Lynch, but you don't just go up there and rush for 300 yards and nobody block."

NIU's defense also made its mark, holding CMU to 75 rushing yards on 30 carries.

Cooper Rush passed for 271 yards and two scores for CMU (3-5, 2-2), which had won its last three home games against NIU, but only 65 of those yards came after the break. Titus Davis caught five passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.

"Defensively, I couldn't be prouder," NIU coach Rod Carey said. "They came out and stopped the run. I don't know what the numbers are and I don't really care. The guys stopped them and that's what we had to have."

Lynch rushed for 115 yards in the third quarter, when the Huskies scored 10 straight points to gain a 24-14 lead. Lynch had a 28-yard run during NIU's first possession of the half, which led to Tyler Wedel's go-ahead, 34-yard field goal.

The Huskies extended the lead to 10 points with an 11-play, 85-yard drive, capped by Lynch's 1-yard run. Lynch had a 40-yard rush to set up that score.

Ron Coluzzi's 38-yard field goal 10 seconds into the fourth quarter pulled CMU within 24-17. Lynch's 3-yard scoring run with 6:11 left boosted the Huskies' lead to 14. Cameron Stingily's 19-yard run with 1:32 remaining capped the scoring.

"They were throwing the ball a lot early and then they settled in and started running," Enos said. "In the second half, our offense didn't possess the ball enough and kept putting our defense out there. They did a good job up front. They're very physical."

Rush passed for 206 yards and two touchdowns during the first half as the teams headed back to the locker rooms tied 14-14. He found Davis in the right corner of the end zone for a 9-yard score to give the Chippewas an early lead. Davis, who missed CMU's 26-23 win at Ohio a last week with a shoulder injury, also had a 38-yard reception on the drive.

Lewis scored on a wide-receiver screen from 9 yards to tie it. The Chippewas responded in the closing seconds of the first quarter with Rush's 36-yard scoring pass to Andrew Flory.

Jhony Faustin intercepted a Rush pass to set up NIU's second touchdown, Lynch's 5-yard run with 8:11 remaining in the half.

NOTES: NIU defeated Central Michigan 55-24 last season. CMU's 48-41 victory over the Huskies 48-41 on Oct. 1, 2011, was NIU's last conference loss. ... The Chippewas' Saylor Lavallii surpassed 1,000 career rushing yards during the first half. ... NIU has forced at least one turnover in every game this season.
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