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Northern Illinois eyes another BCS bid

The SportsXchange

Northern Illinois pulled out a 38-17 victory at Central Michigan, a team that beat Ohio in Athens the week before, and quarterback Jordan Lynch set a new FBS record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a game.

Several Top 25 teams lost Saturday, but the Huskies moved up just one spot in the national rankings to No. 22. On Sunday, the Huskies found out that they were ranked No. 18 in the first Bowl Championship Series standings. At 7-0, the Huskies have a chance to find themselves in a second straight BCS bowl game, if they win their remaining games.

It might sound strange, but national rankings and BCS standings are becoming a norm for the NIU program. First-year NIU coach Rod Carey, though, doesn't want to get to wrapped up in the national spotlight, at least not yet.

"You can't think that way in this game. I know you guys do in the media and that's great, you guys can," Carey said. "Football is such a funny thing. That ball is oblong, it's not round like basketball, where you can dribble with your right and left hand and know where it's going to come up off the floor You can't put the thing on the floor, you've got to worry about each and every day, each and every play, each and every practice. And if you lose sight of that, that thing is oblong man, it will bounce funny. So you've got to stay in the moment and stay right where we are."

Lynch was named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation on Sunday after rushing for 316 yards on a career-high 32 carries. Lynch credited his offensive line for opening up big holes, with most of his runs between the tackles. "They were getting great push. That's why we got all those rushing yards," Lynch said. "You could have gave anyone the ball that game. The holes were so wide open. It was nothing that I did, it was mostly the offensive linemen, tight end getting that second and third push."

A week before the CMU road contest, Carey talked about the need for the offensive line to improve. The Huskies relied exclusively on the run in the second half, with Lynch attempting just five passes and running for 232 yards in the final two quarters.

"Defenses kind of have to make a choice and everyone plays us a little different," Carey said. "And so it takes you a minute to find that out. So you've kind of got to take what they're giving you.

The Huskies return home for what is expected to be an emotional game against Eastern Michigan. Last Friday, EMU wide receiver Demarius Reed was found shot to death at an off-campus apartment complex. The Bobcats lost 56-28 to Ohio the next day. Reed attended Simeon High School in Chicago. "Our hearts go out to them," Carey said. "For that team to take the field and play with the energy they did this week against a good Ohio team, hats go off to their program, their coaches, but most of all their players for how they came out and played this week."

NOTES, QUOTES

--QB Jordan Lynch is coming off perhaps his best game of the season. Lynch ran for 316 yards, the fourth-highest in school history, against Central Michigan. Lynch leads all active players with 3,355 yards and averaging 133.1 rushing yards per game this season.

--RB Cameron Stingily would be leading most teams in rushing. The junior has carried the ball 133 times for 726 yards and seven touchdowns. He's averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

--KR Tommylee Lewis is a threat in the receiving and special teams. Lewis is due for a breakout game. He leads the team with 50 receptions and ranks second with 400 receiving yards.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Overall I was really happy with how Tyler, again, handled every facet of our kicking game. I was really proud of him today." -- NIU coach Rod Carey on kicker Tyler Wedel's performance at CMU.
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