Northern Illinois put together a workmanlike performance on offense, defense and special teams to earn its ninth straight victory, 63-0, over Mid-American Conference newcomer Massachusetts Saturday at Huskie Stadium.
NIU improved to 9-1, 5-0 in the MAC, while UMass fell to 0-9, 0-5.
The Huskies extended their school-record home winning streak to 20 games, and won their 14th straight Mid-American Conference game dating back to last season. Northern Illinois also recorded its first shutout in 53 games, since a 37-0 victory over Eastern Michigan on Sept. 27, 2008.
“I saw a lot of good things,” said NIU head coach Dave Doeren, who improved to 20-4 as the Huskies’ head coach. “I’m excited about the win. We didn’t want to look past UMass. Their team played hard and their coaches coached hard. I thought the guys played really well and what I was hoping to happen [a big win], happened.”
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch (Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel), who left the game after the first series of the first half with NIU leading 42-0, ran for 157 yards on 15 carries with a 57-yard touchdown run, and completed 15-of-19 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 10.2 yards per play.
Aside from Lynch, Huskie freshmen recorded five of Northern Illinois’ nine touchdowns on the day. Tailback Keith Harris Jr. (Chicago, Ill./St. Leo HS) scored on runs of one and two yards, and back-up quarterback Matt McIntosh (Evansville, Ind./Reitz HS) recorded the first three touchdowns of his career with a pair of touchdown runs – of one and seven yards – and a six-yard scoring pass to freshman Angelo Sebastiano (Coconut Creek, Fla./North Broward Prep).
Four Huskies scored rushing touchdowns as NIU piled up 332 yards on the ground, while Lynch and McIntosh, along with receiver Jamison Wells (Combine Locks Wis./Kimberly), completed 20-of-26 passes for 278 yards and three scores. Wells completed a 44-yard pass to Juwan Brescacin (Mississauga, Canda/Culver Academy) on a receiver pass for the longest pass of the day. The Huskies converted on nine-of-11 turnovers and scored eight times on nine trips inside the red zone.
Brescacin, another freshman, caught four passes for 82 yards, just behind sophomore Tommylee Lewis’ (Riviera Beach, Fla./WT-Dywer) six catches for 86 yards.
Defensively, the Huskies forced four turnovers, including three fumbles while holding UMass to 267 total yards and an average of 3.2 yards per play.
Junior safety Dominique Ware (Bolingbrook, Ill./Plainfield North), who started in place of injured starter Jimmie Ward, made eight tackles to lead Northern Illinois as the Huskies played without three of its starting defensive backs.
The NIU defensive line combined for four sacks as Anthony Wells (North Chicago, Ill./North Chicago), Donovan Gordon (Kansas, Mo. Raytown South), Alan Baxter Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove) and Sean Progar (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) each had one. Overall, Northern Illinois tallied 10 tackles for losses of 39 yards.
UMass was one-of-six on fourth down conversions in the game and reached the Huskie red zone just one time.