Northern Illinois junior Jordan Lynch (Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel HS) continued to show why he is one of the most productive quarterbacks in the country as he threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more Saturday to lead the Huskies to a 48-34 victory over Western Michigan at Waldo Stadium.
Northern Illinois won its eighth straight game with its only loss by one point to Iowa in the 2012 season opener.
NIU is 8-1 overall, 5-0 in the Mid-American Conference.
After playing three of its last four games on the road, the Huskies have won seven straight road games and 13 in a row versus league foes, a streak that leads the nation.
“I’ve never been around a team that plays as well as this on the road,” said NIU head coach Dave Doeren. “We’ve won seven in a row on the road and that shows the mental toughness of this team, and the leadership of our seniors and juniors.”
Lynch, who entered the game leading the country in yards of total offense, tallied 410 yards with 136 rushing and 274 passing yards versus the Broncos. He scored on runs of two and 20 yards in the third quarter when Northern Illinois turned a 21-17 halftime deficit into a 31-21 lead.
Lynch went over the 100-yard mark in rushing yards for the eighth time on the season and for the seventh consecutive game. He has scored at least two rushing and two passing touchdowns in each of the Huskies’ last three games and has accounted for 32 touchdowns on the season with 17 passing and 15 rushing scores.
“Jordan is playing at such a high level,” Doeren said. “It’s not just what he’s doing on the ground, he’s making the clutch throws too. You can see his toughness, and he doesn’t turn the ball over. He needs to be mentioned among the top quarterbacks in the nation, that’s for sure.”
Lynch has not thrown an interception in five games and 146 pass attempts, since the fourth quarter of the Kansas game.
After NIU kicker Mathew Sims broke the Huskies’ school record with a 54-yard field goal on the last play of the first half, Northern Illinois trailed the Broncos 21-17 at halftime.
The game turned the Huskies’ way in the third quarter when the Northern Illinois defense forced Western Michigan into three-and-outs on its first two possessions. Lewis returned WMU punter J. Schroeder’s punt 34 yards to the Broncos’ 22. However, Lynch was stopped on fourth-and-one, giving the ball back to Western Michigan.
Defensive end Sean Progar recorded one of his three sacks on WMU quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen and after a 20-yard Schroeder punt, NIU took over on the WMU 38.
Lynch hit Martel Moore, who caught seven passes for 120 yards for his fourth 100-yard receiving game, for 12 yards and picked up 17 yards rushing to the two before taking it in himself and giving the Huskies a lead they would not relinquish.
NIU’s Jamaal Bass intercepted Van Tubbergen to stop the Broncos’ next drive.
His 44-yard interception return put Northern Illinois in position at the WMU 20. Lynch scored on the next play and the Huskies led by 10 with 4:44 to play in the third. After another stop by the Huskie defense, Lynch and NIU drove to the WMU three with the help of a 62-yard Lynch to Moore connection.
From the three, Lynch hit Tommylee Lewis for the sophomore’s second touchdown of the game and a 38-21 NIU lead with 13:46 to play.
Five minutes and a WMU punt – its sixth of the game – later, Northern Illinois extended the lead to 45-21 on Lynch’s fourth touchdown pass as he connected with Brown from eight yards out.
“We played real well in the third quarter, especially on defense starting with two straight three-and-outs,” Doeren said. “Tommylee Lewis was huge. We put him back there on punts for the first time and anytime he touches the ball, he’s electric.”
Van Tubbergen completed 11 of his first 12 passes and threw two touchdown passes to Eric Monette – of 27 and six yards – in the first quarter. Lynch tied the game with the first of two touchdown passes to Da’Ron Brown, a nine-yarder, set up by a 44-yard punt return by Tommylee Lewis.
Western Michigan took a 21-14 lead on Dareyon Chance’s eight-yard run with 1:32 to play in the half on a drive extended by a Huskie personal foul.