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QB Harnish earns MAC West weekly honor

October 17, 2011
Chandler Harnish

Chandler Harnish

Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish (Bluffton, Ind./Norwell) has been named the Mid-American Conference West Division Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season and for the seventh time in his career after leading NIU to a 51-22 victory over Western Michigan Saturday, the league office announced Monday.

On Saturday, Harnish ran for 229 yards on 14 carries and passed for 203 yards while completing 14-of-27 attempts, to become just the 10th player in NCAA (FBS) history to surpass the 200-yard mark in rushing and passing in the same game.

Harnish joined a select group of multi-talented quarterbacks who have accomplished the feat, including Michigan’s Denard Robinson, Texas’ Vince Young, Brad Smith of Missouri and Antwaan Randle El of Indiana.

Harnish averaged 16.4 yards per rush and had runs of 51, 29, 45, 40 on the day despite playing only three quarters and two plays. He rushed for 163 yards in the third quarter alone to record the second best QUARTER by any runner in school history. Harnish totaled 432 yards of total offense on 41 plays to lead NIU, which totaled 494 rushing yards.

“It was a lot of fun out there,” Harnish said after the game. “The offensive line, running backs, and wide receivers all did their job. My reads were simple and the holes were so wide open. If I had been a little faster, I could have turned some of those long runs into touchdowns.”

Harnish became the first player in the MAC this season to rush for more than 200 yards and he ranks fourth in the league in rushing this season. He also posted the highest rushing total by an FBS quarterback in 2011.

His 229 yards is the third-highest rushing total ever by an NIU quarterback and is the most rushing yards for any Huskie player since Garrett Wolfe’s school-record 353-yard game versus Ball State on Sept. 30, 2006.

The senior, who played in his 40th game for NIU Saturday, is the school’s all-time leader in passing (7,275) and total offense (9,550) yards and ranks 11th on the Huskies’ career rushing chart with 2,275 yards.

In addition to the MAC honor, named Harnish its Mid-American Conference Player of the Week for his performance versus Western Michigan, and the Huskies’ quarterback earned mention in columns by’s Mark Schlabach and’s Stewart Mandel. He was named one of the “Stars of the Week” by the Manning Award, which invites fans to vote for the top performer of the week on its Facebook page.

Northern Illinois, which came back from a 15-7 deficit to score 44 unanswered points en route to the win over WMU, totaled 697 yards on the day, the second-highest total in school history. Harnish’s back-up, Jordan Lynch, also passed the century mark in rushing yards as he tallied 113 yards on 10 carries.

The Huskies open a three-game road swing Saturday, Oct. 22, with a trip to MAC East foe Buffalo. The game, which kicks off at 11 a.m. (Central Time) will be syndicated by ESPN Plus and can be seen locally on WPWR My50TV Chicago and WTVO ABC 17 in Rockford.

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