After running for 181 yards and a touchdown, passing for 338 yards and two scores and leading Northern Illinois on a game-winning field goal drive versus Ball State last Tuesday, it is no surprise that Huskie quarterback Chandler Harnish (Bluffton, Ind./Norwell HS) was today named the Mid-American Conference West Division Offensive Player by the league office.
Harnish, the record-setting quarterback whose numbers rank him among the elite players in college football this year, earned the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week Award for the fourth time this season and for the ninth time in his career.
The senior from Bluffton, Ind. compiled a school-record 519 yards of total offense versus Ball State in recording his sixth 100-yard rushing day and fourth 300-yard passing day of the season. The 519 yards is the third-highest total by a Football Bowl Subdivision player this season. He scored on a 49-yard touchdown run and threw touchdown passes of 15 and 27 yards. He led Northern Illinois on two scoring drives in the final five minutes of the game that resulted in game-tying and game-winning field goals, the last coming with just eight seconds on the clock.
The 41-38 victory over Ball State preserved Northern Illinois’ first-place tie in the MAC West. With a victory over Eastern Michigan at home this Friday, NIU will make its second straight trip to the Mid-American Conference Championship game. The Huskies enter the game on a six-game winning streak and have won 14 consecutive games at Huskie Stadium.
Harnish owns at least 19 Northern Illinois school passing and total offense records. He ranks seventh nationally in total offense yards (345.18/game), 12th in passing efficiency (157.3) and 17th in rushing yards (109.36/game). With 1,203 rushing and 2,594 rushing yards so far this season, he is one of only four players all-time to have 1,200 rushing and 2,500 passing yards in the same season.
In addition to the MAC honor, Rivals.com named Harnish its Mid-American Conference Player of the Week for his performance versus Ball State, and he is one of the Manning Quarterback Award “Stars of the Week.” Fans can go to the Allstate Sugar Bowl Facebook page to vote for what they think was the best performance from this past weekend. When voting closes on Thursday at 9 a.m. (Central), the top vote-getter will be announced as the Manning Award Player of the Week.
Harnish previously was named MAC West Offensive Player of the Week versus Army (9-3), Western Michigan (10-15) and Toledo (11-1). In addition to Harnish, senior defensive lineman Ron Newcomb (Wheatfield, Ind./Mt. Carmel HS) and freshman wide receiver/kick returner Tommylee Lewis (Riviera Beach, Fla./W.T. Dwyer HS) have picked up MAC weekly awards with Newcomb earning the Defensive Player of the Week nod following the Kent State (10-8) game and Lewis named the Specialist of the Week following his performance at Toledo (11-1).
Harnish and his 18 senior teammates celebrate Senior Day Friday morning prior to the Huskies’ home game versus Eastern Michigan. The game kicks off at the special time of 10 a.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Tickets are on sale now at www.NIUHuskies.com. On game day, fans who bring a canned food item to the drop off areas on the West Side of Huskie Stadium will receive a voucher good for an $8 game ticket.