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Lynch leading the way

Published: Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Ashley L. Conti – The (Muncie, Ind.) Star Press)
Northern Illinois' Leighton Settle (center) finds the hole in Ball State's defense during the Huskies' 35-23 victory Saturday over the Cardinals.

MUNCIE, Ind. – Six weeks into the 2012 season, Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch sits among the top players in the nation in some important statistical categories.

With an average of 340.67 yards of total offense a game, NIU’s first-year starter is seventh in the country, about 94 yards a game behind the leader, Baylor quarterback Nick Florence. West Virginia QB Geno Smith, arguably the Heisman Trophy favorite at this point in the season, is second with 412.4 yards a game.

When it comes to rushing offense, Lynch’s 131.5 yards a game is good for eighth in the nation. On this list are names such as Raymond Maples of Army, who averages 134.2 yards a game, and Cody Getz of Air Force ranks No.1 and averages 177.5 yards a game. Those players are in triple option systems.

Lynch is the second-leading rusher among quarterbacks. Michigan’s all-world athlete Denard Robinson is first with 135.20 yards a game. Lynch’s nine rushing touchdowns are good for sixth in the nation.

While he continues to climb atop national leaderboards, the Huskies’ junior QB said he’s not paying attention to his ranking among the country’s elite.

“No idea. I have no idea,” Lynch said after Saturday’s 35-23 win at Ball State, where he had a career-high 207 rushing yards on 29 carries, an average of 7.1 yards, while running for three touchdowns.

Six weeks into the season, opposing defenses haven’t found a way to stop the Huskies’ quarterback draw.

Saturday, Huskies head coach Dave Doeren didn’t think his team blocked very well at the start of the game, and gave credit to Ball State’s defense. He said the Cardinals played heavy techniques and got their hands on NIU’s blockers. Doeren said his offense didn’t block 1-on-1 as well as they have been.

In the second half, NIU’s second-year head coach said his team got back to doing what it does well. It paid off, with Lynch gaining 150 yards after halftime. The biggest play from Lynch was a 71-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

The play call? A quarterback draw.

“He’s a great player, I think everybody knows that now,” Doeren said. “He’s really playing hard, and the guys are executing around them and they’re blocking hard around him. He’s running the offense.”

All season, NIU has been a good second half team, rallying three times for victories.

The Huskies’ defense has gotten a good view of Lynch and Co. getting the job done when it counts.

“Man, we’ve got a lot of confidence. It seems like were a fourth-quarter team, it seems like that’s where we play our best ball, in the fourth quarter,” said NIU safety Jimmie Ward, who had 12 tackles and an interception in the Ball State win. “So when the ball is in Jordan Lynch’s hands, I’ve got all the confidence in the world.”

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