Football shows balanced attack


By Matt Hopkinson

Last week, I opined that NIU’s offensive playcalling and playmaking abilities were one-dimensional.

This week, it seemed anything but.

In the match-up with Iowa, NIU did all they could to nearly pull off a victory, despite only having 55 yards passing. In the game against Tennessee-Martin, NIU had 427 yards of total offense, including 213 on the ground and 214 through the air.

This means that no matter the matchup, NIU is capable of finding a style of play that best suits their opponent. While every team in any sport will attempt to strategize and base a plan of attack off their opponent’s tendencies, not everyone has the tools and resources capable of actually pulling this off.

The Huskies seemingly do if quarterback Jordan Lynch is able to replicate his aerial performance against Tennessee-Martin when called upon and the offensive line is able to create holes and pass block.

The style of play from these two games is nearly night and day, as NIU featured a run-heavy attack primarily via the quarterback against Iowa. Against the Skyhawks they fed junior running back Leighton Settle the ball 21 times. They also targeted three different receivers at least twice, spreading the wealth around, and were rewarded with over 200 yards.

Head coach Dave Doeren believes that his team has the ability to capitalize on his opponents’ coverage choices.

“When teams play soft coverage on our receivers we’re going to throw the ball out there and take advantage of it,” Doeren said.

While the level of competition from the first two games may be a limiting factor in finding a real sense of identity, the key will still come down to the line and Lynch.

Playmakers have already stepped up in Settle, who has claimed the starting running back job for now, and the established receivers in seniors Martel Moore and Perez Ashford.

Even sophomore TommyLee Lewis was featured against Tennessee-Martin as a wide receiver and showed the ability to gain yardage effectively.

The jury is still out on what this team’s offensive identity will be, and perhaps that’s just the way the Huskies would like it to be.