Northern Illinois will play for its second consecutive Mid-American Conference title tonight against Kent State. There's much more on the line as well, with the winner getting a possible BCS bowl berth.
Let's take a look back at the Huskies' regular season:
NIU 31, Toledo 24, Nov. 14 at Huskie Stadium
Playing for the MAC West Championship against the Huskies' biggest rival, Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch dominated the second half. Lynch threw for 407 yards and ran for 162 on the game, becoming the first QB in Football Bowl Subdivision history to throw for more than 400 yards and run for more than 150.
Iowa 18, NIU 17, Sept. 1 at Soldier Field
Ah, what could have been. Had the Huskies won this game, they could be safely in the BCS with a win over Kent State. However, the team responded from the defeat, winning 11 in a row.
MOST ENTERTAINING GAME
NIU 41, Army 40, Sept. 15 in West Point, N.Y.
It was Army and its triple-option attack against NIU and its spread offense.
The two teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of offense, but it was NIU linebacker Boomer Mays who made a key defensive play late in the game, stopping Black Knights QB Trent Steelman on fourth-and-3, allowing NIU to run out the clock.
WORST ON-FIELD MOMENT
NIU hadn't allowed an Iowa touchdown all game. But with 2:15 left at Soldier Field, Hawkeyes running back Damon Bullock sprinted left and into the end zone to give Iowa an 18-17 lead.
The Hawkeyes would hold on, giving the Huskies their only loss of the season.
BEST JORDAN LYNCH PERFORMANCE
Nov. 14 vs. Toledo
So many to choose from when it comes to the record-setting quarterback, but you can't go wrong with Lynch's performance against the Rockets.
Honorable mention goes to his games against Army (342 passing yards, 125 rushing yards, five total touchdowns) and Western Michigan (274 passing yards, 136 rushing yards, six total touchdowns).
BEST NON-LYNCH PERFORMANCE
Martel Moore vs. Toledo, Nov. 14
The senior wide receiver made the Huskies' biggest play of the game in NIU's most important victory of the season, hauling in a 73-yard touchdown pass from Lynch on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.
Moore finished with seven catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
PREDICTION I'D LIKE TO HAVE BACK....
Before NIU's game against Buffalo Oct. 13, I wrote in my live blog on HuskieWire.com that the Bulls would give the Huskies a tough game, picking NIU to win, 28-24.
The Huskies ran away with an easy, 45-3 victory.
QUOTE OF THE SEASON, PART I
"I'm going to tell you, I think the guy should be on the Heisman list. The guy's close to breaking the all-time record for quarterbacks in rushing. Throws four touchdowns, runs for two, averages 130-plus (rushing yards) per game. He doesn't turn the football over, he's playing so hard."
– NIU head coach Dave Doeren, on Lynch after the Huskies 48-34 win at Western Michigan Oct. 27.
QUOTE OF THE SEASON, PART II
"Arguably, they're right there with the best teams that we've played. You could make the point that they're as good as Michigan. They're really good in a lot of ways."
– Massachusetts head coach Charley Molnar, after his team's 63-0 loss to NIU at Huskie Stadium on Nov. 3.
- Steve Nitz, firstname.lastname@example.org