DeKALB – Ninety-nine yards in 2 minutes 43 seconds.
After looking shaky during the first half, Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch and the Huskies took the ball from their own 1-yard line early in the third quarter. Less than three minutes later, Lynch hit Perez Ashford for a 6-yard touchdown pass to break a 14-14 tie, and the Huskies went on to win, 31-24, on senior night at Huskie Stadium.
NIU (10-1 overall, 7-0 Mid-American Conference) clinched its third consecutive Mid-American Conference West Division title. NIU will play in the MAC Championship Game on Nov. 30.
Wednesday’s game marked the third consecutive year NIU has beaten Toledo (8-3, 5-2).
In the first half, NIU’s offense didn’t look to be quite in sync. The third quarter was a different story, with the Huskies scoring 21 points, and Lynch going 15 of 17 for 296 yards, two passing touchdowns and an interception.
Lynch, who has been hyped as a Heisman Trophy contender this season, finished the game 25 of 36 with 407 yards passing and three touchdowns. He ran for 162 yards.
Martel Moore caught two touchdown passes for the Huskies. The senior, who was honored before the game with the rest of the Huskies’ senior group as the winningest class in school history, had one of the most impressive plays of the year on NIU’s first play from scrimmage in the third quarter.
Moore caught a screen pass from Lynch, juked some Rockets tacklers, kept his balance and went 73 yards to the end zone. The Huskies rode the momentum the rest of the third quarter on their way to their 10th straight win of the season.