Huskies have talents beyond Lynch

By Matt Hopkison

Junior quarterback Jordan Lynch has been the face of NIU football, the MAC conference and of every mid-major Heisman hopeful all season long.

Lynch came into the season as a major question mark: Could he handle the position? Could he throw effectively and win? Could he handle a running load so heavy?

Despite the rough start against Iowa, Lynch showed week-in and week-out that he was more than capable of all those things and much more.

Those performances have culminated with the biggest media spotlight ever to shine down on the campus in DeKalb, and Lynch has been center stage the whole time.

The truth is, he hasn’t done it alone. As great a talent he is, and as much as he does drive the NIU football team, his offensive teammates have done not only a great job of performing but of embracing Lynch’s spotlight.

“The way our team is, with Jordan getting all this shine, the team’s getting the shine,” said senior receiver Martel Moore. “It’s not gonna hurt any of us the way he gets the most attention. That’s what it’s supposed to be, he’s the quarterback. That’s for any team in America.”

The most underappreciated aspect of all of football is the offensive line, and it shows in the NFL that a good lineman can secure a hefty pay-day. Though to the casual observer or media outlet, the offensive line never gets the attention. As redshirt junior Jared Volk explains, that’s not the worst thing.

“When we’re not noticed it means we’re doing good,” Volk said. “It feels pretty good for us as well, knowing that he’s had such success this year. We were a young group; we were the question mark this year. Being able to show people that we can do things people didn’t think we could is pretty nice for us.”

Despite the praise lauded on Lynch, virtually every position and player on the offensive end aside from him becomes an integral part of finding success. But Lynch has confidence in his teammates.

“I know Martel’s really excited,” Lynch said. “It looks like he is gonna get some one-one-one matchups. [Akeem] Daniels the last two games has really come on strong. Our offensive line is definitely up for the challenge, it’s gonna be the best D-line they’ve faced all year. Everyone’s gonna be up for the challenge.”

Despite the success of players like Moore, who has a chance to inch his way further up the NIU record books, the Florida State defense has no specific game-plan for anyone but Lynch. They feel that playing “Florida State defense” will be enough.

Florida State redshirt senior linebacker Vince Williams summed up NIU’s offense very simply:

“They just the run the quarterback, from my understanding of watching film,” Williams said. “Jordan Lynch will get most of the carries.”

While the run game is what got NIU to this point and will not be discarded, the Huskies have a weapon on the outside as well in Moore, who believes he will not get any special treatment in the form of double teams.

“I doubt it, they played everyone man-on-man,” Moore said. “I don’t think they’re gonna do that for me, especially coming from the MAC conference. They’re probably gonna doubt me, that I can even get open against them with all the speed that they have.”

Despite the impressions from the FSU players, their interim defensive coordinator DJ Eliot believes they must prepare for everyone.

“They’re a very good offense, they got great numbers,” Eliot said. “There’s other weapons besides Jordan Lynch that we’re gonna have to be prepared for. They have good speed and their offensive line is very effective, they work well together. We’re cautious of more than just one player for them.”

With this game being billed as offense versus defense, Lynch’s spotlight is quickly diverted by his own admissions.

“It’s not about me,” Lynch said. “I didn’t make it here by myself. It’s the coaches and the players around me that made my season possible.”

It will take every man possible for both teams to get a victory come game night, not just one man, not just one side of the ball.