DeKALB – Stacey Robinson’s single-game FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback stood for more than 20 years.
Northern Illinois senior quarterback Jordan Lynch broke Robinson’s mark on Oct. 19 against Central Michigan, and then needed more than a month to break his own record before a crowd of 17,679 in his final game Tuesday at Huskie Stadium.
Lynch ran for 321 yards on 27 carries in the Huskies’ 33-14 win against Western Michigan, breaking his own record. Lynch ran for 316 yards against the Chippewas, while Robinson, a former NIU quarterback himself, ran for 308 yards against Fresno State in 1990.
“It was hard to throw the ball in that wind,” said Lynch, who did struggle passing the ball, going only 5 of 17. “Good thing we have a good run game. Offensive line was going a good job getting to the second level, receivers blocking their butts off. It made my job a little bit easier.”
Lynch got the No. 14 Huskies (12-0) on the board with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Juwan Brescacin in the first quarter. The Broncos (1-11) tied the score when tailback Dareyon Chance ran in from a yard out.
Lynch scored two rushing touchdowns in the first half – one from 29 yards out and the last TD of the half was a 36-yard run. The Huskies took a 20-7 lead into halftime after Mathew Sims missed the extra point.
Sims, who missed three field goals attempts in last week’s win over Toledo, struggled again Tuesday, missing a 34-yard field goal as well. But the senior kicker got on the right track, kicking a 23-yard field goal in the first half and a 32-yarder after halftime.
Lynch would add a 37-yard touchdown run in the third.
After the game, Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck called Lynch the best player in college football.
“I have all the respect in all the decisions that have ever been made at Northern Illinois. I love everybody here, I love this community. I loved living here, I loved every minute of it,” Fleck said. “There’s always a special place in my heart for this program and this school and for everybody who’s associated with it.”
NIU finishes its first perfect regular season as an FBS member, and the Huskies will compete in the MAC Championship Game on Dec. 6 in Detroit.
The question now is if the win over a poor Western Michigan team will be enough to sway some voters to NIU’s side. The Huskies are two spots ahead of Fresno State, who plays San Jose State this week, in the latest BCS standings. However, the Huskies trail the Bulldogs in the USA Today Coaches Poll and Harris Poll.
The thought among BCS experts is the Huskies’ strength of schedule will be hurt this week, which could put Fresno back ahead of NIU. The Huskies may need more help in the polls in order to earn the non-AQ BCS bid, even if their computer rankings remain strong.