Despite giving up more points than in its last three games combined, NIU came from behind to defeat Western Michigan on the road Saturday.
NIU (8-1, 5-0 MAC) has now won eight straight games this season, and with its 48-34 victory over the Broncos (3-6, 1-4 MAC), has now won 13 straight MAC games as well as seven straight on the road.
NIU was led on offense by junior quarterback Jordan Lynch, who accounted for all six touchdowns scored by the Huskies. Lynch threw for four touchdowns while running for two more.
“Defensively, we said we’d shut down Lynch and that was a big thing that didn’t work out well for us,” said Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit in a news conference. “We’re having a tough time putting all three phrases together. That’s a really good football team. A high-class, tough-nose hard team, and they deserve a lot of credit.”
While the final score suggests an ability for NIU to score with ease, that notion did not hold true in the first half.
The Broncos were the ones who were able to score quickly and efficiently against an NIU defense that had only given up 10 total points in its last two games. Senior receiver Eric Monette and junior quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen hooked up for two touchdowns in the first quarter.
The Huskies would even the score early in the second quarter on a touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Da’Ron Brown from Lynch, but the Broncos answered right back with an 8-yard touchdown run from junior running back Dareyon Chance.
Down 21-14, Lynch and company led a five-play, 23-yard drive that ended in a 54-yard field goal by senior kicker Mathew Sims. Sims’ 54-yard field goal was a new school record and put NIU within four points going into halftime.
“I wasn’t sure we would get it there, but I didn’t want to throw an incomplete and walk away with no points...,” said NIU coach Dave Doeren in a news conference. “Anytime you can get a play, just to get three points going in is to have something positive to talk about because it wasn’t a very positive first half for us.”
The second quarter was a completely different story, as NIU came out and scored four unanswered touchdowns, including two Lynch rushes and a touchdown pass a piece to sophomore receiver TommyLee Lewis and Brown.
Offensively, Lynch was the crux for NIU, something Doeren believes warrants national attention.
“Jordan is playing at such a high level,” Doeren said in a news conference. “It’s not just what he’s doing on the ground; he’s making the clutch throws, too. You can see his toughness, and he doesn’t turn the ball over. He needs to be mentioned among the top quarterbacks in the nation, that’s for sure.”