No. 24 N. Illinois 49, E. Michigan 7

So much for catching the Mid-American Conference West division

champions napping.

Jordan Lynch ran for 107 yards and Akeem Daniels scored a

career-best four touchdowns as No. 24 Northern Illinois beat

Eastern Michigan 49-7 on a cold, snowy Friday.

The Huskies head to the MAC title game, which they had already

locked up a spot in, with 11 straight victories.

Daniels scored on runs of 25 and 20 yards in the first half and

finished with a career-high 112 yards on 12 carries to help the

Huskies (11-1, 8-0) cap a perfect run through the MAC. He added

touchdowns carries from 19 and 16 yards out in the second half.

”It was like ice water out there,” the Florida native said

after his first game in snow. ”My hands were kind of frozen but I

didn’t mind.

”The offensive line did a nice job opening holes.”

Lynch, a week removed from a 407-yard passing performance, was

16 for 25 for 168 yards but extended his FBS record streak of

100-yard rushing games by a quarterback. He had 20 carries to crack

the century mark for the 10th straight game and bolster his dark

horse Heisman Trophy campaign.

”We were really happy,” coach Dave Doeren said. ”We were

great at tailback and didn’t allow any sacks today.

”We had to be pretty conservative with our passing game.”

The West division winners will go for a second straight

conference title when they face No. 23 Kent State in next week’s

championship game. The Huskies have defeated 16 straight MAC

opponents and won 11 regular-season games for the first time in

school history.

Eastern Michigan (2-10, 1-7) tied the game 7-7 late in the first

quarter but Northern Illinois needed just 15 seconds to retake the

lead.

Tommylee Lewis returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards to score

the first of three straight touchdowns that gave the Huskies a 28-7

lead at intermission.

The return touchdown, the third of his career, set a new school

record.

It was 38 degrees and windy at kickoff and snow flurries covered

the artificial surface early in the second quarter. The Huskies

mostly kept the ball on the ground after that but got a 43-yard

touchdown pass from Lynch to Martel Moore in the final minute of

the half.

Sean Evans intercepted Eagles quarterback Tyler Benz early in

the fourth quarter to set up Daniels’ final touchdown run and Jacob

Brinlee added an 11-yard scoring run in the final minutes of the

game.

Moore had nine catches for 116 yards to become the first Huskies

receiver with 1,000 yards in a season since 2005.

The Huskies allowed only 94 rushing yards and 227 total.

”I read a story saying teams that run spread offenses don’t

have very good defenses,” Doeren said. ”I wish they would’ve

called me for that story. We’ve been a very good defensive team

this year.”

EMU, which hosted a ranked opponent for the first time in school

history, fell to 0-7 all-time against Top-25 teams.

Benz was 10 for 22 for 96 yards and hit Matt Boyd with a 20-yard

strike for the Eagles’ only touchdown. The Huskies sacked him three

times.

The snow stopped at halftime but persistent, chilly winds shooed

most of the crowd by the start of the fourth quarter. Northern

Illinois will find the conditions much better next week when it

plays for the conference title in climate-controlled Ford Field in

Detroit.

”We can’t wait. We’re excited,” said Lynch, who has 4,381

total yards.

”We love the spotlight and the game is going to give us a

chance to show what we can do.”