You ready for Northern Illinois in a BCS bowl again? OK, maybe we're getting ahead of ourselves, but senior quarterback Jordan Lynch had a big opener Saturday as NIU edged host Iowa 30-27 to pass its toughest non-conference test.
NIU lost one regular-season game last season -- by one point in its opener against Iowa. The Huskies' other loss came to Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
Lynch, a long-shot Heisman contender who finished seventh in the voting last season, threw for 275 yards and three TDs as NIU outscored Iowa 13-3 in the second half to come away with the win. He also led NIU in rushing, with 56 yards on 22 carries.
Mathew Sims kicked a 36-yard field goal with four seconds left for the victory.
Last season, Lynch became the first player in FBS history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,500. His passing total Saturday was the third-highest in his career, but the rushing total was his second-lowest in the 15 games he has started.
Lynch was 6-of-16 passing, for 54 yards, against Iowa last season; he was 25-of-41 on Saturday.
NIU plays three of its four non-conference games on the road, including next week's game at woeful Idaho and Sept. 28 against Purdue; the other non-league game is FCS opponent Eastern Illinois on Sept. 21. But the only tough MAC road games are Oct. 5 at Kent State and Nov. 20 at Toledo in a game that could determine the MAC West title. NIU went 9-0 in the MAC last season, winning those contests by an average of 27.6 points per games.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.