|Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press|
|Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch has the Huskies off to a 3-0 start this season.|
Jordan Lynch's dual-threat ability trumped Jimmy Garoppolo's passing Saturday night and that's why Northern Illinois held off FCS foe Eastern Illinois in a 43-39 win.
Lynch, a senior who finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting last season, ran for 189 yards on 23 carries and also threw for 235 yards and a TD for NIU. Garoppolo, a senior who is one of the favorites for the FCS Player of the Year award, was 34 of 49 for 450 yards and six TDs. Garoppolo threw three TD passes in the first quarter, staking the Panthers to a 20-0 lead midway through the quarter. Garoppolo also was sacked five times.
Lynch and NIU held the ball for the final 5:04 of the game. On that drive, Lynch ran 11 yards on a 3rd-and-7 play and also completed a 21-yard pass on a 3rd-and-11 play.
Garoppolo has received a lot of attention for his passing skills, and he was red-hot early against NIU. He was 7 of 8 for 72 yards and a TD on the Panthers' first drive, 1 of 1 for 45 yards and a TD on the second drive and 5 of 7 for 65 yards and a TD on the third drive. That's 12 of 16 for 182 yards and three TDs in the first 7:36 of the game. But NIU picked him off on the next drive and did so again on the first drive of the second half -- the Huskies turned both picks into touchdowns.
Lynch has started 17 games in his career and has run for 100 yards or more in 14 of them; he has run for 150-plus yards five times. It also was Lynch's 11th 200-yard passing game in his 17 starts, and he has thrown at least one TD pass in 16 of them.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.