Huskie offensive linemen Tyler Loos (Sterling, Ill./Sterling HS) and Andrew Ness (O’Fallon, Mo./Christian Brothers College), defensive end Jason Meehan (St. Louis, Mo./Webster Groves HS) and cornerback Paris Logan (Columbia, Mo./Rock Bridge HS) were named to the All-MAC first team.
“I’m really happy for all of our guys, they are all very deserving of these honors,” NIU head coach Rod Carey said. “When you play at the level they have played, it’s good to see that get recognized. I can tell you this, we have a lot of other guys on our team that have played really well too, and haven’t been recognized and part of that is how this thing goes, but I’m certainly happy for these guys to get this honor.”
Overall, five NIU seniors and five juniors collected all-conference honors Wednesday; only Toledo and Western Michigan placed more players on the three teams and only Central Michigan (with five) had more first team selections than the Huskies. Six NIU defenders and four offensive players were named to the first, second or third team All-MAC squad. Loos, NIU’s left tackle, earned All-MAC honors for the third consecutive season and was one of just four players selected to the first team for the second year in a row. Loos also garnered second team recognition in 2012.
“Tyler has fought through a lot of injury and this year has been his healthiest and he’s played his best and that’s what you need, for seniors to play as seniors,” Carey said.
He and Ness have helped power a Huskie offense that ranks 17th in the country in rushing offense as NIU rushers have averaged five yards per carry this season. The Huskies have given up just nine sacks on the season and NIU ranks second in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in sacks allowed.
Meehan leads NIU and ranks second in the MAC in quarterback sacks with seven on the season and his 9.5 tackles for loss also lead the Huskies. He has made a career-high 46 tackles in 2014. Logan’s consistent play at cornerback has solidified the back end of the Huskie defense. The junior enters the MAC title game Friday with 68 tackles, two interceptions and a team-best 13 pass break-ups with at least one in each of NIU’s last 11 games.
Huskie defensive end Perez Ford (Romeoville, Ill./Romeoville HS), safety Dechane Durante (Charlotte, N.C./Vance HS) and middle linebacker Boomer Mays (Lawrence, Kans./Eudora HS), along with wide receiver Da’Ron Brown (Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park HS) were selected to the 2014 All-MAC second team.
Brown earned second-team honors for the second consecutive season. The Chicago native leads NIU with 55 catches for 932 yards and six touchdowns. He is averaging 16.9 yards per catch and 77.7 yards per game while enjoying his best season as a Huskie. Brown, NIU’s primary deep threat, has caught 11 passes of 25 yards or more and has two 100-yard games this year.
Ford has made 51 tackles on the season with 8.5 tackles for loss and his 4.5 quarterback sacks rank second on the team. He has a pair of forced fumbles while sacking the opposition’s quarterback in each of NIU’s last two games. Mays has also been honored for the first time in his career. The Kansas native has made nine tackles for loss to rank second on the team and has 66 tackles on the season while playing an integral role in the Huskies’ run defense. Durante claimed second team All-MAC honors after being named to the third team a year ago. NIU’s third-leading tackler with 73 earned MAC West Player of the Week honors Monday for his play versus Western Michigan when he made eight tackles, intercepted a pass and caused a fumble.
NIU senior tailback Cameron Stingily (Romeoville, Ill./Romeoville HS) and junior linebacker Rasheen Lemon (Chicago, Ill./Proviso West HS) earned third-team All-MAC honors from the league’s coaches. Stingily has run for 779 yards on 160 carries with 11 touchdowns and three 100-yard rushing games in 2014. Lemon’s 81 tackles rank second on the team and include three tackles for loss and two-and-a-half quarterback sacks.
The 10 Huskies named matches last year’s total of honorees for the highest number since 13 NIU players made an All-MAC team in 2010.
NIU (10-2, 7-1 MAC), which claimed its fifth straight MAC West title last weekend with a win over Western Michigan, will meet MAC East Champion Bowling Green (7-5, 5-3 MAC) Friday night at Ford Field in Detroit in the Marathon MAC Championship Game. Kickoff for the contest, which will air on ESPN2, is at 6 p.m. Central Time.
Tickets remain on sale through NIU until 5 p.m. Thursday for just $20 each.
For more information on NIU football and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.