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Northern Illinois 48, Western Michigan 34

The SportsXchange

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Northern Illinois followed the same script of its victories over Kansas, Central Michigan, Ball State and Akron.

The Huskies started slow in the first half, and then embarked on a scoring spree in the second half.

Northern Illinois captured its eighth straight victory, scoring 28 straight points after halftime in a 48-34 win over Western Michigan in Mid-American Conference action on Saturday afternoon at Waldo Stadium.

The Huskies (8-1, 5-0 MAC West) scored 14 points in the third and added 17 in the fourth quarters.

Northern Illinois, which has won 17 of its last 18 games, rode junior quarterback Jordan Lynch to its third straight blowout conference victory. Lynch, who came into Saturday's game with more offensive yards than 40 FBS teams, totaled 376 against the Broncos. On pace to break the NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a season, Lynch shredded the Broncos with his right arm. Lynch threw a pair of touchdown passes to Tommylee Lewis and Da'Ron Brown.

Northern Illinois scored on its first drive of the game, but struggled finding the end zone until midway through the third quarter. Down 21-17 at halftime, the Huskies scored 31 unanswered points after kicker Mathew Sims' drilled a school-record 54-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter.

The Broncos (3-6, 1-4) started fast, but the Huskies' defense tightened up in the final two quarters. Western Michigan tallied 250 yards in the first half, but clearly missed quarterback Alex Carder, who sat out his fifth consecutive game with a finger injury on his throwing hand. The Broncos also played without injured freshman wide receiver Jaime Wilson, who tops all freshmen in the country with 59 catches for 706 yards and six touchdowns.

But Western Michigan junior quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen made the best out of a bad situation during the first half, completing 11 of his 12 first-quarter passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns for an early 14-7 Western Michigan lead.

The Broncos scored on their first two drives with 175 yards in the first quarter. Van Tubbergen answered NIU's game-opening touchdown with a 27-yard scoring pass to Eric Monette. Van Tubbergen padded WMU's lead to 14-7 with a 6-yard touchdown toss to Monette late in the first. After WMU's strong start, the Huskies started bringing more defensive pressure and didn't allow a point after halftime.

Notes: Western Michigan's Tyler Van Tubbergen started his fifth straight game in replacing Carder. ... Northern Illinois wide receiver Perez Ashford (ankle) and cornerback Rashaan Melvin (knee) sat out. ... Before Saturday, Lynch had more rushing yards than 42 teams, including Penn State, West Virginia and Miami. ... The Huskies own the longest conference winning streak in the country with 13 straight victories.
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