Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch gets another chance to show off his skills Wednesday night when he and the 16th-ranked Huskies play at Toledo with the MAC West title on the line (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
Northern Illinois (10-0 overall, 6-0 in MAC) owns a 23-game conference winning streak, and Lynch, a senior, has been the quarterback for 15 of those wins. He is 22-2 as a starter in his career. NIU also has a 15-game road winning streak, the longest such stretch in the nation.
Lynch (6-foot, 216 pounds) finished seventh in the Heisman voting last season and has a legitimate chance to finish in the top five this season. He is fifth nationally in total offense per game (348.9 yards per game) and 10th nationally in rushing (127.3 ypg).
He averages 221.6 passing yards per game, with 21 TDs, five interceptions and a 65.5 completion percentage. He also has 14 rushing touchdowns (tied for sixth nationally) and one receiving TD. Tuesday, he was named one of five finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. The quarterback award goes to a senior or fourth-year junior, and in addition to their on-field exploits, finalists are judged on character, citizenship, scholastic achievement and leadership.
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Lynch also has NIU in the hunt for a second consecutive BCS bid. The Huskies lost to Florida State in last season's Orange Bowl, and an unbeaten record could get them into another BCS game this season. NIU is one spot behind Fresno State in the BCS standings, but its remaining schedule is tougher than Fresno's, so it seems likely that if both win out, NIU will pass Fresno.
While Lynch is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, his lack of size and arm strength have most analysts thinking he can't be an NFL quarterback. But his toughness and versatility could mean a position change in the NFL.
NIU has won three in a row in the series, and the last time these teams met at Toledo, the Huskies won 63-60 in 2011.