Last season will be difficult to top for the Northern Illinois University football team.
The 2012 season brought the school its second consecutive Mid-American Conference title, its first BCS Bowl berth, a winning streak at Huskie Stadium that now stands at 21 games, and a top-25 finish in two national polls, all bests for the program.
Rather than rest on their laurels, it appears that NIU’s sports media relations department is shooting high again this year. This week, the Huskies launched a campaign to make senior quarterback Jordan Lynch a candidate for the Heisman trophy.
There’s a web page, JordanLynchFor6.com, a Facebook page by the same name and a Twitter account called @LynchFor6 dedicated to promoting the exploits of one of the most talented quarterbacks ever to don the cardinal and black.
Lynch probably is a longshot to win college football’s most prestigious individual honor, considering the teams on the Huskies schedule and the fact that they do not receive the national exposure of powerhouse programs in conferences such as the SEC or Big Ten.
But the fact that the Huskies already are putting their man out there with the season opener at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium more than two months away is a good sign.
It shows that NIU is not content just to have danced on the big stage last season. Rather, it appears the Orange Bowl berth is being taken as proof that the opportunities available to power-conference programs are within the Huskies’ grasp as well.
Lynch does have a lot of impressive numbers from last season on his side. A few:
• With 3,138 passing and 1,815 rushing yards in 2012, Lynch became the first player in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision to pass for more than 3,000 yards and run for more than 1,500 yards in a single season.
• He set an NIU record for total offense in a single game with 569 yards, which ranked as the seventh-highest FBS total in 2012, in a 31-24 win over Toledo.
• Lynch’s 44 TDs last season were more than 50 FBS teams scored.
Then-coach Dave Doeren said last season that Lynch’s stellar play should have made him a contender for the Heisman. If Lynch has a similar season this year – or plays even better – who knows what new “firsts” could be in store for NIU’s football team and its fans.
No matter the outcome, it is good to see NIU thinking big and doing all it can to put its best player in the national spotlight. Good luck to Lynch and his Huskies coaches and teammates this fall.
• Note to readers: This story was changed to reflect that NIU's sports media relations department is running the Lynch-for-Heisman campaign.