Lynch: BCS bowl run will take ‘ton of hard work’


NIU and FSU players prepare to battle out another play during the 2013 Orange Bowl game. The Huskies lost, 31-10.

By Frank Gogola

Going bowling has been a recent trend for the football team.

The Huskies have gone to five consecutive postseason bowl games, posting a 2-3 record during that stretch. They were on a two-bowl winning streak before falling to the Florida State Seminoles in the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl, NIU’s first BCS bowl appearance.

In a college football world where good teams make it to bowls, great teams win at an above-average clip and elite teams win year in, year out, the Huskies are on the prowl to get back to their winning ways. That is not the easiest of tasks and will require a total team effort.

“It’s going to take a ton of hard work across the board [to get back to a BCS bowl],” said senior redshirt quarterback Jordan Lynch. “When we come out and play the BCS teams — the Big 10 teams — we need to play hard and finish the fight. But we can’t look past Iowa, because, you know, that’s when things start to slip up.”

Head coach Rod Carey has given the offense props during preseason camp but knows any chance of making a sixth consecutive bowl appearance will require winning every phase of each game.

“All our players work hard and come out to play every day. We have a lot of playmakers on offense; we just have to get the ball to them,” Carey said. “But it takes all three phases to win a game. We have to be able to score, defend well and take advantage of the kicking game.”

Playing in the Mid-American Conference, a mid-major conference, is a disadvantage for the Huskies because they do not automatically qualify for a BCS bowl by winning the conference championship game. In order to qualify for a BCS bowl again they must:

1. Finish in the top 12 of the final BCS standings, or

2. Finish in the top 16 of the final BCS standings and be ranked higher than at least one Automatic Qualifying conference champion.

Going undefeated and posting style points may be the way to make a return with an at-large bid. While offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bob Cole sees the offense as “a much more balanced offense that can move the ball down the field” both through the air and on the ground, the team is not ready to make any January travel plans.

“We just need to come out and take it one game at a time,” Lynch said. “We are going to need to work hard and don’t forget where we come from.”

The Huskies will have a tough, arduous journey ahead of them. All they can do is go out there and play their own brand of football, not worrying about where the polls have them ranked.

“A lot of it [making it back to a BCS bowl] is up to the computers — we can’t control that part,” Carey said. “If we prepare well, play smart football and take games one at a time, we will be in the best position to make a return.”