After an historic season in which Jordan Lynch finished seventh in Heisman voting and led the football team to the Orange Bowl, the quarterback has continued to improve.
At this point last season, Lynch started only four games in his NIU career but led the Huskies to a 3-1 record. Now, he has 18 starts under his belt, and the Huskies wrapped up non-conference play with a 4-0 record.
“I think last year he was getting his feet wet starting at quarterback,” said Bob Cole, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. “And he pretty much focused all his attention on that. And now this year, starting when we got back from the Orange Bowl, he started to lead the whole team, not just the offense. He’s a vocal leader, leads by example. He did a great job.”
Through four games last season, Lynch rushed for 438 yards and five touchdowns on 64 carriers. Through four games this season, he rushed for 439 yards and three touchdowns on 77 carries.
He was 66-of-103 (64.1 percent) for 845 yards at this point last season and threw seven touchdowns and three interceptions. He is now 81-of-125 (64.8 percent) for 869 yards in four games, and threw 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
“I think he reads the defenses a lot better right now,” Cole said. “He knows where to go with the football. He gets it out of his hand quicker. He understands when he has to get out of the pocket and run. He’s still looking to throw first, but he’s done a real good job with that.
“The big difference between this year and last year is that he spends way more time watching film.”
Head coach Rod Carey cited Lynch’s increase in his preparation in the film room, execution on the practice field and leadership role as reasons for his continuing improvement.
“It’s his senior year,” Carey said. “So all of those things you’re going to do more. You’re going to pay attention to them more because you know it’s your last go-around. He’s certainly picked it up in the film room and on the practice field and in being a vocal leader. He’s just made improvements in all areas. He’s taking what the defense gives him right now.”
For Lynch, it’s all about being comfortable on the field. With the majority of the offense returning, including the entire offensive line, Lynch became much more settled in the offense.
“I’m way more comfortable,” Lynch said. “…Anytime you have guys come back from last year, just the chemistry you built in the summertime and the fall camp, I would say I’m more and more comfortable.”
While the starts piled up, Lynch continued to increase his play and his comfort level. Lynch won the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week award four times last season. He won the same award three times in his first four games this season — at Iowa Hawkeyes, vs. Eastern Illinois Panthers and at Purdue.
“Altogether, I would say I’m more and more comfortable every game,” Lynch said. “Just more comfortable being the leader. It’s my senior year. I want to go out the right way.”