Huskies trample UMass in 63 point shutout


NIU quarterback Matt McIntosh (9) runs the ball towards the endzone during Saturday’s victory over the Minutemen 63-0.

By Matt Hopkinson

For the first time since 2008, NIU football earned a shutout victory as it trampled UMass Saturday.

The Huskies (9-1, 5-0 MAC) scored in every quarter against the Minutemen (0-9, 0-5 MAC), including posting 21 points a piece in the second and third quarter.

“They are arguably one of the best teams we’ve faced,” said UMass coach Charley Molnar. “You could make the case they are as good as Michigan.”

The success found by the Huskies is not without a similar formula possessed by Michigan, in which it all starts with the quarterback play. In just a little over one half of the game, junior quarterback Jordan Lynch posted 348 total yards and three touchdowns. Lynch ran for 157 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown dash and threw for 191 more.

“I don’t know if he’s a top five player in the country, but he’s certainly the thing that makes their offense go.” Molnar said.

The offensive effort started early, with Lynch hooking up with senior receiver Martel Moore with a little over six minutes left in the first quarter. The effort continued throughout the game with virtually every option getting involved at some point.

“[We’re] obviously excited about the win and the fact we were able to play so many players,” said coach Dave Doeren. “I think we scored on almost every drive. [This gives us] positive momentum going into the bye. We didn’t want to look past UMass, their players played hard.”

In the rushing game, four different players ran for a touchdown, including two by sophomore backup quarterback Matt McIntosh, who scored his first rushing and threw for his first passing touchdown in the game.

On the ground, junior Akeem Daniels ran for one, freshman Keith Harris Jr. ran for two and the aforementioned Lynch ran for one.

In the passing game, three different players caught touchdowns, with Daniels getting one and freshman wide receiver Angelo Sebastiano being the recipient for McIntosh’s first career scoring pass.

NIU was able to generate a lot of pressure on the quarterback with four sacks for a total loss of 22 yards, which senior linebacker Tyrone Clark took notice of.

“It’s always good to get up there with them boys,” Clark said. “Especially Anthony Wells [who] got two sacks today. Good to see them break loose like they always do.”

Not only was the pressure on the quarterback a factor, but NIU also came away with four turnovers, forcing four fumbles and recovering three of them, in addition to getting a last second interception as the game wound down.

“We were forcing them just not getting them,” Doeren said. “[It’s only a] matter of time if you keep doing it, that’s big. We did the same thing last year where we forced about 16 in the last four games. Get two to four in a game to close it out, that’s big for the offense.”