Northern Illinois Football 2013 Bowl Capsule

Northern Illinois Huskies


Northern Illinois dominating the Mid-American Conference and involving itself in the BCS discussion is becoming old hat at this point. The Huskies are the new Boise State. Going into the conference championship game, Northern Illinois was 12-0 and ranked inside the top 16, ahead of a leader of an AQ conference. They were unable to seal the deal with a loss to Bowling Green in the championship game. In 2012, the Huskies went 12-1 on their way to the Orange Bowl. And although their schedule this season was lacking in big opponents and they missed out on the BCS bid, NIU has proved itself the elite of the MAC for the fourth year running. They haven't lost more than once in-conference since 2009.

2013 Record: 12-1, 8-0
Coach: Rod Carey
Coach Bowl Record: 0-1

Big Wins: 8/31 at Iowa (30-27), 11/13 Ball State (48-27)
Bad Losses: 12/6 vs. Bowling Green (27-47)

With down years by some of the big Heisman front-runners and controversy surrounding the favorite, Northern Illinois' quarterback Jordan Lynch has emerged as a dark horse, darling pick. The team has been extraordinary this season, which helps Lynch's cause. But his personal numbers are also outstanding, to the tune of 2500+ passing yards, 1800+ rushing yards and 42 total touchdowns. For some point of comparison, Johnny Manziel, in his magical freshman season where he won the Heisman Trophy, accumulated a good amount more passing yards than Lynch in 2013, but ran for less yards and tallied a comparable number of touchdowns. Playing in the SEC is certainly a step up from the MAC, but Jordan Lynch has been amazing, as has the NIU offense in general. There were very few teams in the country with a better turnover margin than NIU's and even fewer racked up more yardage and scored more points. Not to be overlooked on this offense, junior running back Cameron Stingily ran for over 1000 yards of his own and the Huskies as a team averaged 6.7 yards per carry.

When a team from a non-AQ conference is running over everybody and making waves in the BCS bowl projections, their schedule has to be a point of contention. Although Northern Illinois finished the regular season undefeated and made the MAC title game, their list of scheduled opponents is nothing to write home about. The Huskies didn't face a single ranked opponent all year; the MAC had some solid teams but NIU's out-of-conference schedule was essentially barren. Even with that being the case, this team still struggled to contain people on defense as was the case in the MAC championship game against Bowling Green. They allowed a lot of yardage, especially through the air, and were very poor inside the red zone. These figures may not be a great approximation of the team in recent weeks, as opponents have been held under their scoring averages for the most part, but even giving up 19 to a team like Massachusetts is nothing to be proud of.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Jordan Lynch, QB, 1,881 yards
Passing: Jordan Lynch, QB, 2,676 yards
Receiving: Da’Ron Brown, WR, 689 yards
Tackles: Jimmie Ward, S, 89
Sacks: Jason Meehan, DE, 5.5
Interceptions: Jimmie Ward, S, 6

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 318.9 (4th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 223.4 (72, 5)
Total Offense: 542.3 (4, 1)
Scoring Offense: 42.8 (9, 1)
Rushing Defense: 147.9 (41, 2)
Pass Defense: 264.2 (108, 13)
Total Defense: 412.1 (73, 7)
Scoring Defense: 23.6 (39, 3)
Turnover Margin: 1.2 (8, 2)
Sacks: 2.50 (34, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 0.67 (2, 2)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2012    Orange Bowl        Florida State (10-31)
2011 Bowl    Arkansas (38-20)
2010    Humanitarian Bowl    Fresno State (40-17)
2009    International Bowl    USF (3-27)
2008    Independence Bowl    Louisiana Tech (10-17)
2006    Poinsettia Bowl    TCU (7-37)

*all team stats through 11/30


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