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Lynch's QB draw a big play for NIU

DeKALB – It's been a staple of the Northern Illinois offense all season.

The play has made defenses look outmatched left and right, and has given fits to opposing defensive coordinators.

When the quarterback draw is called by NIU offensive coordinator Rod Carey, there's a good chance NIU QB Jordan Lynch will be running for a first down, and additional yardage. It's a call which has led to a good amount of Lynch's 1,342 rushing yards this season.

The play starts out with Lynch taking a three-step drop, tucking the ball and running when the linebackers drop back. When Lynch has been able to get into the open field, he's used his good vision to break long runs and score some key touchdowns.

"I think like any good guy who carries the ball, you have to have vision," Carey said. "[Lynch] has great vision to see the hole. He makes us right up front if we just stay on our blocks."

However, everything starts with Lynch's blocking.

He's not getting into the second level if the offensive line doesn't come out showing pass protection. The play usually won't result in big yardage if center Andrew Ness and a guard aren't double-teaming the nose tackle and pushing him back off the line of scrimmage.

Lynch might not be able to break a long run if he isn't getting a good block from the running back, who is Lynch's lead blocker on the play, or from the receivers on the outside.

"Lynch or the backs can make guys miss once they get to the second level," Ness said. "But we've got to move the first line."

Defenses have tried different things against NIU to limit the deadly offensive play. Ness said defensive lines have been slanting and blitzing more and have had some success, although the Huskies' coaching staff have often made the right adjustments at halftime.

Lynch has the ability to audible out of the play if he needs to.

"Some teams blitz during it and usually suck it up pretty good," Lynch said. "But that's why we have tags on it, and that's why I usually just throw the quick little bubble screen if they're going to blitz."

Teams may have short-term success against the quarterback draw, and defensive coordinators have often put an extra man in the box against the Huskies' running game this season.

But it comes to a point where opponents have to pick their poison against a quarterback who's also dangerous with his arm.

"Problem they got with [stacking the box] is, our wide receivers are pretty good. So, they have to make a choice," Carey said. "You can see defenses go back and forth. Take away Jordan, take away the pass game. So, they're going to have to choose."

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