Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch always is a rushing threat, though he never had a day like this.
Lynch rushed for 316 yards, an FBS record for a quarterback, and the 23rd-ranked Huskies stayed unbeaten with a 38-17 victory at Central Michigan on Saturday.
Lynch had three rushing touchdowns and was 20 for 30 through the air for 155 yards and another score to help Northern Illinois (7-0, 3-0 Mid-American) extend the nation’s best conference winning streak to 20 games.
He broke the rushing record held by former Northern Illinois quarterback Stacey Robinson, who had 308 against Fresno State on Oct. 6, 1990.
"The holes were so wide open; it was nothing I did," he said.
Lynch had 232 rushing yards — 25 more than his previous single-game high — and two touchdowns in the second half and added a long run while missing a shoe. Several long runs came on plays up the middle of the field.
The performance came a week after he became the 10th player in FBS history to run for more than 3,000 career yards and pass for more than 4,000 in a win over visiting Akron.
Northern Illinois outscored Central Michigan 17-3 in the second half to extend its road winning streak to 13 games, second only to No. 2 Oregon’s 18 straight. The Huskies have won 28 of their last 30 games.
"You take what they give you," Huskies coach Rod Carey said. "Today they made us run it, so we did."
While Lynch was leading the offense with his feet, the Huskies’ defense kept the Chippewas (3-5, 2-2) in check throughout the second half. Northern Illinois, which earned a BCS bowl berth last season, held its hosts to just six first downs and 97 total yards after the break.
It finished the game with two takeaways.
"I couldn’t be prouder," Carey said of his defense. "They stopped the run. That’s what we had to have happen."
The teams went to halftime tied at 14 and Tyler Wedel gave the Huskies the lead for good early in the third with a 34-yard field goal. Lynch added his second touchdown, a 1-yard sneak, later in the period to stretch the lead to double digits.
Central Michigan cut the lead to 24-17 after Ron Coluzzi’s 38-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter but Lynch and Cameron Stingily answered with scoring runs of 3 and 19 yards to put the game away.
"In the second half, our offense didn’t possess the ball enough and kept putting our defense out there. They did a good job up front. They’re very physical," Central Michigan coach Dan Enos said.
"I thought we hung in there for half. We’re down one possession in the fourth quarter and then they imposed their will on us and I thought they really established themselves on both sides, offensively and defensively. We couldn’t get back into it but they’re a really good football team and they did a great job today."
Cooper Rush completed 16of his 22 attempts for 271 yards and two touchdowns for the Chippewas, who had a two-game winning streak end. Titus Davis caught five passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Lynch sandwiched a 9-yard touchdown pass to Tommylee Lewis between two Rush scoring passes, then knotted the score with his first touchdown run, a 4-yarder midway through the second quarter.
Northern Illinois was deep in Central Michigan territory in the final minutes of the half but Justin Cherocci intercepted a tipped pass to keep the game tied.
The road win was the Huskies’ fifth this season. The trips, Carey said, don’t bother his team.
"We’re used to it," he said. "This group embraces it.
"It’s just us on those bus trips. There’s not a lot of outside distractions."