The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

November 14, 2013

Lynch leads unbeaten Huskies in showdown

DEKALB, Ill. — Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey thinks Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch deserves to be mentioned in Heisman Trophy talk.

“If Jordan isn’t in the conversation for the Heisman, I don’t know what people are watching; they were asleep,” Carey said. “In my estimation that trophy goes to the best player in the nation, and with the performance he had tonight, he dang sure should be in that conversation.”

Playing in front of a national television audience, Lynch threw two touchdown passes and ran for two scores to help No. 20 Northern Illinois beat Ball State 48-27 on Wednesday night.

“I feel like I’m improving every week,” Lynch said. “I still think the best is yet to come.”

Lynch threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Da’Ron Brown to break a tie with 5 minutes, 49 seconds left, and the Huskies (10-0, 6-0 Mid-American Conference) ran the nation’s longest active home winning streak to 25 and their conference run to 23. The 10-0 mark is their best since the 1963 team finished 10-0.

Lynch added a 16-yard touchdown run with 1:26 to go, and defensive end Joe Windsor scored on a 49-yard interception return with 46 seconds left.

Lynch was 26-of-32 for 345 yards and ran for 123 yards on 20 carries. Brown had 12 receptions for 209 yards, also catching a 58-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.

“He’s a very good player,” Ball State coach Pete Lembo said. “He’s fast, he’s built like a linebacker, but he’s got tailback speed. He’s got a lot of savvy.”

The victory preserved Northern Illinois’ hopes for a second straight Bowl Championship Series appearance The Huskies played in the Orange Bowl last season and are 15th in the BCS rankings. They need to stay undefeated and pass Fresno State in the BCS to have a shot.

Keith Wenning was 35-of-49 for 324 yards for Ball State (9-2, 6-1). Willie Snead had 12 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown, and Jahwan Edwards ran for 156 yards and a score.

The loss ended the Cardinals’ seven-game winning streak and 11-game MAC run.

The teams combined for three scores in the final 1:28 of the first half.

Edwards’ 2-yard touchdown run — his school record 38th — gave Ball State a 21-13 lead, but Lynch and Brown combined on the 58-yard touchdown strike with 1:13 left to make it 21-20. Scott Secor lined a successful 43-yard field goal into the wind with 30 seconds to go to put the Cardinals up 24-20.

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