No. 23 N. Illinois improves to 8-0
Jordan Lynch had asked for three years to try the play.
On Saturday, the quarterback for No. 23 Northern Illinois got
his wish, reversing roles with wideout Tommylee Lewis on a 17-yard
touchdown in the second quarter as the Huskies rolled to a 59-20
victory over Eastern Michigan.
”We practice it every week, we just never called it,” said
Lynch, who threw four touchdown passes. ”It’s fun to do something
like that, to act like a receiver. Anytime you bust out a trick
play it’s fun.”
Lynch took the snap, handed off to Lewis and bolted for the end
zone for his first career touchdown reception as the Huskies opened
a 28-3 lead early in the second quarter.
The Huskies (8-0, 4-0 Mid-American Conference) reached their
best start as a major program with the victory and never trailed on
the way to a season-high in points and second-highest total offense
The Eagles (1-7, 0-4) lost their seventh straight.
Lynch, the nation’s No. 7 rusher entering Saturday, also ran for
a touchdown while rushing 18 times for 99 yards. He was 16-of-20
passing for 223 yards while tying a career high with the four TD
passes in less than three quarters.
Da’Ron Brown caught three passes for 28 yards and two
Lewis, meanwhile, had eight catches for 107 yards to go along
with the touchdown pass. He rushed four times for 81 yards,
primarily on successful sweeps.
”All credit goes to our blocking on the outside,” Lewis said.
”They opened up holes and I just ran right through them.”
Eastern Michigan’s Bronson Hill rushed 17 times for a team-high
66 yards while Brogan Roback got the start and was 7-of-17 passing
for 109 yards in his lengthiest outing of the season.
The start is the best since Northern Illinois reached major
college status in 1969. While a College Division team the Huskies
went 10-0 in 1963 and started 9-0 in 1965.
It was the Huskies’ 24th straight home win, the nation’s longest
active streak, and extended their conference-record 21-game MAC
The Huskies had 229 net yards and scored three times in the
opening quarter on the way to a 21-3 lead.
”I’m really happy with the win, happy with the way we started
both halves,” Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey said. ”We came
out quick and I was looking for that. … We challenged ourselves
for 60 minutes. I was really happy with the 60 minutes of football
that we played.”
Northern Illinois marched 82 yards in 13 plays in its opening
drive, taking a 7-0 lead after Lynch’s 5-yard touchdown pass to
On their second drive, the Huskies moved 80 yards in three plays
with a 10-yard TD pass to freshman Joel Bouagnon for a 14-0 lead.
Lynch made it 21-0 on a 30-yard touchdown run.
Eastern Michigan then saw a promising drive stall inside the
Northern Illinois 10 and settled for a 25-yard field goal by Dylan
Lynch made it 28-3 with a 17-yard touchdown reception from
Lewis. Then, with 2:08 left in the half, Lynch fired a 16-yard
touchdown strike to Juwa Brescacin as the Huskies opened a 35-3
lead. Matt Sims’ 28-yard field goal just before halftime made it
Northern Illinois’ fast start initially left Eastern Michigan
”I thought they did a good job going out quick, they showed
formations they had not shown and I thought it unnerved our guys a
little bit,” Eagles coach Ron English said.
Eastern Michigan’s opening drive of the second half reached the
Northern Illinois 15 but ended with a 38-yard field goal by
Brown’s second touchdown pass – a 28-yard play with Lynch – made
The Eagles finally got into the end zone with 6:33 left in the
third when Tyler Benz hit Tyreese Russell on a 9-yard touchdown
pass that made it 45-13.
Redshirt freshman Matt Williams caught his first career
touchdown pass, a 36-yard pass play from backup quarterback Matt
McIntosh, as Northern Illinois opened a 52-13 lead.
Reserve quarterback Matt Hare’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Ricky
Connors made it 59-13 early in the fourth. Eastern Michigan’s Ryan
Brumfield closed the scoring a 5-yard touchdown run with 4:11 to
Before the game Northern Illinois officially opened a new $9.5
million indoor facility. The multi-purpose Chessick Practice Center
features a full-size 120-yard practice field and amenities for
Both teams wore No. 2 decals on their helmets and observed a
moment of silence before the game in memory of Eastern Michigan
junior Demarius Reed, a Chicago native killed in a Oct. 18 shooting
in Ypsilanti, Mich.