After passing for a career-best five touchdowns and rushing for another in leading Northern Illinois to its first season-opening win since 2003, Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish was named the Mid-American Conference West Division Offensive Player of the Week Monday by the league office.
Harnish completed 12-of-19 passes for 195 yards in the Huskies’ 49-26 victory over Army Saturday at Huskie Stadium. He also ran for 80 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries to account for 275 yards of total offense in three quarters of action. He averaged 9.2 yards per play on the day and his passing efficiency rating of 225.68 currently ranks second in the country.
Harnish’s last touchdown pass, a four-yarder to Martel Moore with 1:20 remaining in the third period, gave NIU a 49-6 lead in the game. His touchdowns went to five different players, including a 13-yard roll out to freshman tight end Luke Eakes, a 58-yard screen to Jamal Womble and throws of 19 and six yards to Nathan Palmer and Akeem Daniels, respectively. He scored on a one-yard keeper and had a 41-yard pick-up on the ground.
The Bluffton, Ind. native’s five touchdown passes were the most by an NIU quarterback since Sept. 17, 2005 when Phil Horvath threw six TD passes versus Akron. Harnish now ranks third on the NIU career charts for touchdown passes with 45, behind only all-time leader George Bork (60) and Josh Haldi (55).
Harnish was named MAC West Offensive Player of the Week for the sixth time in his career after picking up the honor three times in 2010 en route to becoming the first-team All-MAC quarterback. He also was selected as the MAC West Offensive POTW twice as a redshirt freshman in 2008.
In winning the honor, Harnish extends the Huskies’ streak of having at least one player named MAC West Player of the Week in each of the last 11 weeks that the MAC has done the awards. NIU finished 2010 on a 10-week POTW streak.
Rivals.com also named Harnish its Mid-American Conference Player of the Week after his performance versus Army and called the Huskies’ senior “one of the nation’s most underrated quarterbacks” in its weekly “Winners and Losers” page.
Northern Illinois (1-0) takes on Kansas this Saturday in Lawrence at 6 p.m. (CDT). The game will be televised by Fox College Sports and will be heard locally on NIU flagship station WLBK AM 1360 (DeKalb), WIND AM 560 (Chicago), ESPN Radio 1380 (Janesville-Rockford) and WJOL AM 1340 (Joliet).