Lynch garners MAC’s highest award

By Matt Hopkinson

The season opened ominously for junior quarterback Jordan Lynch.

He only managed 173 yards rushing and passing combined, was sacked twice and fumbled once in a loss to Iowa.

Since that game at Soldier Field, Lynch has set the college football record for consecutive 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback, became the first college quarterback to rush for more than 150 yards and throw for more than 400 in one game and also is on the verge of breaking NIU’s single season total yards and touchdowns record.

Leading the Huskies on a current 11-game winning streak, Lynch has garnered four MAC West Offensive Player of the Week awards, as well as four Manning Star Awards. His game-in and game-out consistency was recognized when he received the Vern Smith Leadership Award, the MAC’s Most Valuable Player.

“I’m extremely happy for Jordan and think he’s a great representative of that award,” said coach Dave Doeren in a news conference. “I think Jordan stands for everything that award is about. To see an NIU player win the Vern Smith Award six of the last seven years says a lot about our program.”

Lynch has accomplished unbelievable feats on his own, not only in performing every game, but doing so when teams were game-planning around him, specifically trying to stop him. Even with teams targeting him, Lynch has been a national level performer, ranking third in the nation in total offense, fifth in rushing and third in yards per play.

Even with all the national success, attention is still paid to the NIU record book, as Lynch has cracked the top ten in categories like rushing touchdowns, 100-yard rushing games and touchdowns responsible for.

Lynch has broken records held by running back Garrett Wolfe for the most consecutive 100-yard rushing games, and for the most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback.

Lynch is also one touchdown away from breaking Chandler Harnish’s record for touchdowns in a season, and needs a little more than 250 yards to break the single season yardage record.

The NIU sports administration has been hard at work with its Heisman campaign, an honor Doeren believes Lynch is deserving of, having expressed his support in an email to the Heisman voters. Doeren believes the success of Lynch comes not just from his athletic ability, but for his game acumen.

“You see it a lot when you turn on the television,” Doeren said. “You see a guy throw the ball and say ‘What is he doing right there?’ He has just been a good game manager. He understands his football aptitude. His football IQ is pretty high. He understands how to protect the ball and that people are going to be coming after it. That is the best part about him I think. All the other athletic things he can do are very special, don’t get me wrong, but he doesn’t put our defense in harm’s way a lot either. That is pretty important.”

While Lynch is already a conference MVP, a top 10 Manning Award finalist for the best quarterback in the nation, and a Heisman hopeful, he still credits those around him.

“[Winning the Vern Smith Award] is definitely a great accomplishment, and it definitely wouldn’t happen without all of my coaches and teammates,” Lynch said. “I’m grateful to the MAC coaches. Winning the award shows that your talent, your accomplishments and your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. It shows the respect they have for me as a person and as a player.”