• Kansas Jayhawks (1-2) vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (2-1) •
— 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, Huskie Stadium, DeKalb, IL —
Opening Las Vegas Line: NIU -10
Current Las Vegas Line: NIU -9
Three and out, with Northern Illinois...
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, a junior from Chicago, was named the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week on Monday after tallying 467 yards of total offense during the Huskies’ one-point win at Army last week.
The first-year starter threw for four touchdowns and a career-high 342 yards on 18-of-27 passing and also ran for 125 more on 13 carries, including an 88-yard touchdown run.
KU coach Charlie Weis said Lynch’s unpredictable skillset make him tough to slow down.
“The problem with him is he is running the ball so effectively in the read option that everybody is trying to load up the box against him and it opens up big chunks in the passing game,” Weis said. “You really have to pick your poison there.”
Added NIU coach Dave Doeren of his junior QB: “Jordan’s a gamer. He loves to compete, he plays extremely hard, he’s very aggressive.”
Lynch’s recognition marked the third straight week that the Huskies had been highlighted in the conference player of the week awards, with defensive end Sean Progar and defensive back Jimmie Ward earning back-to-back defensive player of the week honors to kick off the season.
NIU extended its school-record winning streak at Huskie Stadium to 16 games with its win over UT Martin in Week 2. The Huskies have not lost a game in DeKalb since Sept. 26, 2009, when NIU dropped a 34-31 decision to Idaho.
Northern Illinois has won 12 straight MAC games at home, dating back to a 33-30 overtime loss to Central Michigan on Nov. 12, 2008.
“The home stadium, we practice in it every day and it’s just so familiar to our guys,” Doeren said. “We’ve definitely, for three seasons now, taken advantage of understanding that we need to protect our home.”
Northern Illinois is one of 10 FBS programs to win at least 11 games in each of the last two years (2010 and 2011). The Huskies join Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, TCU, Boise State, Oregon, Stanford, LSU and Alabama on the short list.
In fact, NIU and Stanford are the only teams whose 11-win seasons came under different head coaches, as Jerry Kill led the Huskies to 11 wins in 2010 and Doeren followed that up with an 11-3 season in 2011, which included a streak of nine straight wins the close the season and victories in the MAC championship game (23-20 over Ohio) and the GoDaddy.com Bowl (38-20 over Arkansas State).
This week’s game marks the third meeting all-time between the Jayhawks and Huskies. The series is tied at 1, with both of the previous meetings taking place at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence.
NIU won, 37-34, on Sept. 3, 1983, and the Jayhawks evened the score with a 45-42 victory on Sept. 10 of last year. In that one, then-quarterback Jordan Webb found wide receiver D.J. Beshears for the game-winning touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 6-yard line with nine seconds to play. The game featured more than 996 yards of total offense and just three total punts.