Forced turnovers play a big role in Huskies success

By Brian Thomas

When looking at the Huskies’ statistics through their first four MAC games, one statistic stands out as a reason for their success: turnovers.

Early in the season, NIU (7-1, 4-0 MAC) struggled to maintain possession of the ball, as in its four games against non-conference teams it turned the ball over seven times.

Looking at the turnovers in the early goings, junior quarterback Jordan Lynch was the culprit of most of the turnovers, as he had one or more turnovers in each of the first four games.

Lynch lost three fumbles, two of them in the game against Army, and in three consecutive games he threw an interception.

Since then, Lynch has been mistake-free, not throwing an interception or losing a fumble during MAC play. He has put the ball on the ground twice, but has been able to recover both times, maintaining possession for the Huskies.

With Lynch’s turnovers going down, turnovers for the Huskies as a team have also gone down. In four MAC games, they have only turned the ball over four times, all of which have been fumbles.

Sophomore TommyLee Lewis lost two fumbles against Ball State. The other two fumbles came late in games, like when junior safety Nate McNeal fumbled a punt against Buffalo and when red shirt freshman quarterback Matt McIntosh fumbled in the final seconds of the game against Akron.

On the other side of the ball, the defense has stepped up its game and forced a number of turnovers during MAC play.

In the Huskies’ first four non-conference games, the defense was quiet, forcing a total of three turnovers. Those three takeaways all came against Tennessee Martin, as senior safety Jimmie Ward recorded an interception and the Huskies recorded two fumble recoveries.

In NIU’s last four games against MAC opponents, it has recorded 11 turnovers. They have recovered five fumbles and intercepted six passes. Two of those came from true freshman cornerback Marlon Moore against Buffalo.

Turnovers have played a huge part in the Huskies’ success on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Huskies have been able to hold onto the ball while the defense has forced numerous turnovers, both of which set up the offense for more scoring opportunities.