DeKALB – P.J. Fleck got up to the podium and didn’t waste any time.
“Jordan Lynch is the best player in college football,” Western Michigan’s first-year head coach said in his opening statement Tuesday after the Broncos’ 33-14 loss to Northern Illinois.
Fleck was part of the NIU staff that recruited Lynch out of Chicago’s Mt. Carmel High School. He said he was sold on him long before his Broncos took on the Huskies Tuesday night.
After yet another dominant performance Tuesday by Lynch, it was hard for Fleck or anyone else in the stadium not to be sold.
Lynch ran for 321 yards, breaking the FBS single-game record he set over a month ago. Lynch ran for three touchdowns and threw for another.
“He’s an elite player. From watching him live and just being around him, I really believe that, and I think that’s what the Heisman Trophy is all about – finding the best player in the country and finding the best player that makes everyone around him better,” said Fleck, who was an assistant coach while the Huskies staff was recruiting Lynch. “I don’t know what else to say about him but I will end it with that he deserves to be in New York City.”
Lynch has done all he can to earn a spot to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York. He’s now one of only five FBS players ever to run for 20 touchdowns and throw for another 20 in the same season. Lynch had 22 passing touchdowns and 22 rushing scores.
The others – Johnny Manziel (2012), Cam Newton (2010), Tim Tebow (2007) and Colin Kaepernick (2010), three of whom won the Heisman.
Numbers-wise, Lynch would be a lock to get to the ceremony. However, he’s going to have a lot of competition. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the Heisman favorite, and Manziel, last year’s winner, is having another great year himself. AJ McCarron of Alabama is looking to win his third national title, and Boston College running back Andre Williams, who leads the nation with 2,073 rushing yards, is also making a late run.
However, there will always be people who knock the fact Lynch plays in a non-AQ conference. Not that it matters to him.
“I don’t care what they say. I don’t pay any attention to them,” Lynch said. “It’s all about this team. That’s all I’m focused on.”
Through 12 games, Lynch is averaging 146.3 rushing yards, which would be the highest mark by a quarterback in NCAA history. Air Force’s Beau Morgan holds the record with an average of 135.8 in 1996, and he ran a triple-option offense.
Dec. 6 in the MAC Championship, Lynch has yet another chance to earn his trip to the Heisman Trophy ceremony as the Huskies take on either Bowling Green or Buffalo on national television.
The past three games, NIU coach Rod Carey has said he deserves to be in the Heisman race. Tuesday was no different.
“I’ve said it and I sound like a broken record, but if he’s not in the Heisman conversation, I guess I don’t know what a Heisman is or should be,” Carey said. “Because to me, that’s exactly what it is, what you saw tonight.”