DeKALB — For Northern Illinois, having a player win the Mid-American Conference MVP has become routine.
On Wednesday, NIU junior quarterback Jordan Lynch was honored with the Vern Smith Leadership Award, given to the league’s most valuable player by the league’s coaches.
Lynch is the fifth Huskie in the past seven years to win the award, joining Garrett Wolfe (2006), Larry English (2007-2008), Chad Spann (2010) and Chandler Harnish (2011).
“[Winning the Vern Smith Award] is definitely a great accomplishment, and it definitely wouldn’t happen without all of my coaches and teammates,” Lynch said in a news release. “I’m grateful to the MAC coaches. Winning the award shows that your talent, your accomplishments and your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. It shows the respect they have for me as a person and as a player.”
Lynch has led NIU to an 8-0 record in the MAC and an 11-1 mark overall. The Huskies are ranked No. 21 in the BCS standings and will play for the MAC Championship on Friday against Kent St. at Ford Field in Detroit.
Lynch has thrown for 2,750 yards and 23 touchdowns while running for 1,611 yards and 16 touchdowns. He holds the NCAA record for most consecutive 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback (nine) and became the first player in FBS history to pass for more than 400 yards and rush for more than 150 yards in a game when he accomplished the feat against Toledo on Nov. 14.
“I’m extremely happy for Jordan and think he’s a great representative of that award,” NIU coach Dave Doeren said in a news release. “I think Jordan stands for everything that award is about. To see an NIU player win the Vern Smith Award six of the last seven years says a lot about our program.”
The junior quarterback from Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago also was named MAC Offensive Player of the Year, and is one of five Huskies who were honored as a first-team All-MAC selection.
Joining Lynch on the first team are receiver Martel Moore, safety Jimmie Ward and defensive ends Sean Progar and Alan Baxter. Offensive tackle Tyler Loos and outside linebacker Tyrone Clark made the second team.
Lynch also was named one of 10 finalists for the Manning Award. The winner will be announced Jan. 9 in New Orleans. The award, voted on by national media as well as Peyton, Eli and Archie Manning, considers candidates’ bowl performances.