FOXBORO, Mass. – Northern Illinois football fans are spoiled.
From 2008 to 2011, the Huskies had Chandler Harnish under center.
Harnish sets numerous school records, wins the 2011 Mid-American Conference MVP award, graduates, and NIU not only replaces him, but the Huskies improve at the position.
Jordan Lynch's 2012 season was better than Harnish's 2011, and he's been just as good in 2013, maybe even better.
Lynch's four touchdown runs in Saturday's 63-19 win over UMass were a career high, but when you watch him every single week, it's honestly tough to notice stuff like that. Heck, he ran for three touchdowns just two weeks ago.
Enjoy watching Lynch for the final four or five games he has left as a Huskie. Sure, Harnish was a great quarterback for this team. Stacey Robinson would have gotten some more headlines when he was here in the late '80s, early '90s if the Huskies weren't an independent, and if he would have been able to be on nationally televised midweek games.
But Lynch, who went 10 of 13 passing for 160 yards and had 17 carries for 124 yards in Saturday's lopsided victory is a once in a lifetime player in the MAC.
Nothing against Drew Hare, Matt McIntosh, Anthony Maddie or incoming freshman Landon Root, but there's probably going to be a big drop-off at quarterback in 2014. Whoever wins the job next summer will have some tough shoes to fill, and I would hope there aren't through-the-roof expectations for whoever it is.
Ball State's Keith Wenning has had a great year (can't wait to see him and Lynch square off Nov. 13), but Lynch will run away with his second straight Vern Smith Leadership Award as the conference MVP.
And while he's been a huge part of NIU's season, he's got plenty of help around him. The offensive line provided massive holes for Lynch to run through all day Saturday, though the group will miss Tyler Loos, who left Saturday's game with a broken leg and was scheduled to undergo surgery.
Tailback Cameron Stingily's presence at tailback has been well-documented, and Tommylee Lewis is a legitimate playmaker on the outside.
However, there isn't talk about NIU going to a second straight BCS bowl without Lynch. He's not going to win the Heisman Trophy, but the fact that he finished seventh last year and his name even comes up says a ton, considering he plays in the MAC.
Maybe whoever gets the job in 2014 has a real nice season. Hare had an impressive 47-yard touchdown run in the victory, though some of the credit there goes to great blocking.
Whoever does isn't going to put up Lynch-like numbers. You may not see any Huskie, or MAC player, put up similar stats in a long time.