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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Breaking Down the Broncos

By Frank Gogola | November 25, 2014

The No. 14 football team will close out its regular season with a matchup against Western Michigan at 6 p.m. today at Huskie Stadium. The Huskies (11-0, 7-0 MAC) will look to win their 12th straight game, increase their nation-leading home winning streak to 26 games and extend their nation-leading conference winning streak to 25. The Huskies also look to claim the school’s first undefeated record as an FBS program in school history. Sports writer Brian Earle (@NSSBrianE22) will break down the Broncos.

Quarterback: The Broncos’ starting quarterback job has been back and forth all season between senior Tyler Van Tubbergen and redshirt freshman Zach Terrell. Van Tubbergen has made six starts compared to Terrell’s five, but he is out the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Terrell started in the Broncos’ most recent game against Central Michigan. He has been up and down in his first season, throwing eight touchdowns as well as eight interceptions. He completes 53.3 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,463 yards this season. He is not a mobile quarterback as on the season he has totaled -15 rushing yards.

Running back: The Broncos feature two running backs in their backfield with a similar number of carries. Senior Dareyon Chance has carried the ball 138 times for 658 yards while senior Brian Fields has 143 carries for 552 yards. Fields has done a better job of finding the end zone this season as he has six rushing touchdowns compared to Chance’s two touchdowns. In the red zone, Fields will see the bulk of the carries. Fields is used sparingly in the passing game as he has caught 13 passes for 122 yards.

Wide Receiver: The playmaker in the Broncos’ offense is freshman Corey Davis. Davis leads the Broncos and the nation’s freshman wide receivers in receiving yards, receptions, receiving yards per game, yards per catch and receiving touchdowns. He has recorded 64 receptions for 913 yards and six touchdowns. He averages 14.3 yards per catch and 91.3 yards per game. On the season he has recorded two 100-yard receiving games. With 87 more yards he will become the fourth wide receiver in MAC history to reach 1,000 yards in his freshman season.

Offensive line: The most experienced member of the Broncos’ offensive line is senior Terry Davisson. He is the anchor of a line that has surrendered 20 total sacks for a loss of 142 yards this season. They will be challenged by the Huskies’ defensive unit, which is fourth in the MAC with 28 sacks this season. Since Terrell is not a very mobile quarterback, the offensive line will have to buy as much time as it can for Terrell to find an open receiver. If Terrell doesn’t have any time to throw, it could be a long day for Western Michigan.

Defensive line: Senior Travonte Boles has done a little bit of everything for the Broncos at defensive tackle this season. He has recorded 51 total tackles on the season and been a force at stopping the run, with five tackles for a loss of 12 yards. Boles can also get after the quarterback as he has 1.5 sacks as well as a quarterback hurry on the season. Boles has also been solid in pass coverage this season as he grabbed an interception and broken up three passes. He is also coming off a game in which he blocked a PAT attempt against Central Michigan.

Linebacker: Senior Kyle Lark has been a tackling machine for the Broncos this season. He is the second-leading tackler on the team with 88 total tackles. He has been strong against the run, making five tackles for a loss of 11 yards. He has not recorded a sack on the season, but in pass coverage he has recorded two pass deflections and two pass breakups. He has not picked off a pass, but he has one fumble recovery on the season.

Secondary: The leader of the defense is junior strong safety Justin Currie. The strong safety leads the Broncos with 103 total tackles, 54 of them solo. He is a hard-hitting defensive back, recording two fumbles on the season. He has made seven tackles for a loss of 20 yards and gotten to the quarterback once this season. He is strong in pass coverage as he has picked off three passes while breaking up nine passes. The Huskies will want to be aware of where Currie is on the field at all times.

Special teams: Sophomore kicker Andrew Haldeman has been the Broncos’ leading scorer this season. He has been responsible for 66 points this season, which is 30 more than the next-highest scorer. He has been an accurate kicker this season, hitting 16-18 field goals. He has been busy kicking field goals of late as nine of his 16 field goals have come in the last two games. Haldeman hit six field goals against Eastern Michigan and three against Central Michigan. He also has not missed an extra point, hitting 18-18 PATs.

Junior running back Cameron Stingily (42) stiff arms the Toledo defense during Wednesday night’s game.  NIU won, 35-17, taking the MAC West title. It will head to the MAC Championship game for the fourth season in a row.

Breaking Down the Huskies

By Frank Gogola | August 26, 2014

Quarterback: Without a doubt, the difference maker for the Huskies is senior Jordan Lynch. As he goes, the Huskies offense goes.

Lynch produced one of the most historic seasons in college football history last season, becoming the only quarterback to run for more than 1,500 yards as well as throw the ball for more than 3,000 yards. Going into this season, Lynch looks to continue that success starting with Iowa. In the season opener against Iowa last year, it was Lynch’s first collegiate start and was seemingly one-dimensional, relying heavily on the running game. Lynch is a different quarterback than he was then so expect him to exploit the Iowa defense throw the air as well as on the ground for big plays.

Running back: Senior Akeem Daniels has had trouble staying on the field due to nagging injuries. Cue junior Cameron Stingily as he is expected to get the start and carry the workload for the Huskies. Stingily came into NIU as a middle linebacker but last season he was converted to running back. Stingily does not have a lot of experience under as belt as last season he made one carry for 5 yards. But he will be a strong addition to the run game as a power back, something the Huskies have lacked the last few of seasons. You can expect Stingily to pound the ball right up the middle and fight for every extra yard.

Wide receiver: Junior TommyLee Lewis comes in this season as the most experienced wide receiver on the team. He will need to step up to fill the void left by former receivers Martel Moore and Perez Ashford. With Lewis generally playing in the slot, he creates mismatches for defenses with his speed and is able to create a number of big play opportunities. He can make big plays by stretching the defense or catching short passes and running for big gains after the catch. Last season, Lewis made 48 receptions for 539 yards and five touchdowns.

Offensive line: Protecting the quarterback’s blind side may be the most important job for the offensive line. That’s why junior left tackle Tyler Loos will be such a factor against Iowa as well as the rest of the season. Last season, Loos and the offensive line did a great job of protecting Lynch’s blind side and they only gave up eight sacks all season. Loos and the line not only kept Lynch off the ground but they opened up numerous, gaping holes for Lynch and others to run through for big gains. If Loos and the rest of the line are able to contain Iowa’s bigger defensive line, the Huskies’ offense should thrive in Iowa City.

Defensive line: Last season in the Huskies’ matchup against the Hawkeyes, the Huskies recorded six sacks. Senior Joe Windsor led the Huskies that game with his two big sacks for a loss of 19 yards in limited action. In a backup role all season, Windsor made a case that he could even be a starting defensive end as he was third on the team with seven sacks. With Windsor’s speed around the edge he is a constant threat, and he should put a lot of pressure on Iowa’s new starting quarterback, Jake Rudock. Now that Windsor will start, expect to hear his name called a lot.

Linebacker: Junior Jamaal Bass is someone who just has a nose for the football. You can expect him to be around the ball at all times making big tackles left and right. Last season, Bass was third on the team with 83 tackles, 45 of them solo. He was behind senior defensive back Jimmie Ward and former linebacker Tyrone Clark. With the departure of Clark and his 86 tackles from last season, Bass becomes the leader of the line backing core. Bass doesn’t come in as the biggest guy on the field, standing at 5’10”, 225 pounds, but he makes up for it with his speed and ability to cover the field.

Defensive Back: The leader of the defensive backs and defense falls on senior Jimmie Ward.

Last season, Ward did it all for the Huskies. He led the team in tackles by recording 104 and 65 of them solo. His mentality for each game is to record at least 10 tackles a game and he prides himself on making big stops. He was also a ball hawk in coverage for the Huskies, leading the team with three interceptions and was second with 11 pass breakups. You can expect Ward to continue flying around the field this season recording tackle after tackle.

Special teams: Coach Rod Carey has said the keys to victory against Iowa are to have good ball control and a strong kicking game.

Although not really needed for anything more than extra points last season, senior kicker Mathew Sims has been more than reliable. Last season he went 15-19 on field goals. He’s also proven his clutch factor as he made one of the biggest kicks in NIU history, a 40-yard field goal against Kent State in the MAC Championship to tie the game and send it into double overtime. Sims has also proven he can be good from beyond 50 or more yards as he hit a 54 yard field goal against Western Michigan last season.

No. 1 Athlete of the Year: Jordan Lynch

By Brian Earle | May 4, 2014

After rewriting the NCAA, MAC and NIU record books in his senior season, the clear choice for Sports’ No. 1 Athlete of 2013-2014 is none other than football’s Jordan Lynch.Lynch holds the NCAA record for most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback...

Baseball’s offense stalls against Golden Flashes

By Brian Earle | May 4, 2014

Baseball stumbled this weekend as it lost two of three games in a conference series against Kent State at Schoonover Stadium in Kent, Ohio.The Huskies’ (15-32-1, 9-12 MAC) lone win of the weekend came in a thrilling 6-5 victory in game two on Saturday....

Senior staff writer bids farewell to Northern Star

By Brian Earle | May 4, 2014

I’m going to get right to it and lay my cards on the table: I hate saying goodbye, and it’s not something I’m particularly good at.I’ve called the Northern Star my home for four years. It’s where I wrote more than 400 articles and columns, each...

Baseball shuts out Wildcats

By Brian Earle | April 30, 2014

Behind starting pitcher Jordan Ruckman’s first complete game shutout, baseball coasted to a 4-0 victory over Northwestern Wednesday at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.Ruckman picked up his first win of the season while the Huskies (14-30-1) earned...

Redshirt junior tailback Cameron Stingily stampedes to Sports’ No. 3 ranking after rushing for 1,119 yards and nine TDs.

No. 3 Athlete of the Year: Cameron Stingily

By Brian Earle | April 30, 2014

Middle linebacker-turned-running back Cameron Stingily put together an impressive campaign in his first season as the starting tailback, earning him Sports’ No. 3 Athlete of the year.“It means a lot because, literally, last year I wasn’t even recognized...

Redshirt senior quarterback Jordan Lynch carries the ball against Purdue Sep. 28 in West Lafayette, Ind. Lynch threw for 2,892 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushed for 1,920 yards and 23 touchdowns in his Heisman campaign.

No. 2 Story of the Year: Lynch finishes 3rd in Heisman voting

By Brian Earle | April 30, 2014

After a record-breaking season, quarterback Jordan Lynch became the first player in NIU to be nominated for the Heisman Trophy, finishing in third place.It wasn’t the first season in which Lynch gained national recognition. As a redshirt junior in 2012,...

Baseball falls to UIC Flames in road match

By Brian Earle | April 30, 2014

In a high-scoring affair, baseball found itself on the short end of the stick, falling to UIC 10-9 Tuesday night on the road.Both teams got the bats out as the Huskies recorded 12 hits while the Flames came away with 11 hits.The Huskies jumped out to...

No. 5 Athlete of the Year: Jordan Threloff

By Brian Earle | April 29, 2014

Redshirt junior center Jordan Threloff proved to be one of the most important additions to men’s basketball this season, earning him Sports’ No. 5 athlete of 2013-2014.When Threloff transferred from Illinois State, he immediately bolstered the Huskies’...

No. 3 Story of the Year: Men’s basketball turns around program

By Brian Earle | April 29, 2014

After years of last-place finishes and rotting in the cellar of the MAC standings, men’s basketball had more than enough, resulting in the biggest single-season turnaround in NIU history.With head coach Mark Montgomery at the helm, the Huskies won 15...

Baseball ready for regional challenge

By Brian Earle | April 28, 2014

Baseball will take a break from its conference schedule when it hits the road for two midweek games against UIC at 7:05 p.m. today and Northwestern at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.The Huskies (13-29-1) have been playing better baseball of late, winning four of...