Three & Out with Northern Illinois...


• 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...

First down
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.

Second down
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.”

Third down
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 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.


KGphoto 10 years ago

I hate these read-option attacks. If the QB is good at it, we struggle. Dial up some more blitzes please, and blow them up before they get it going.

Micky Baker 10 years ago

Agreed, but can't telegraph it. If the play clock is down under 7 or 8 seconds, and they haven't snapped the ball, that is when you can show it because there isn't enough time to change the play without calling a TO. It will force them to play faster, but still not being able to read the defense if we disguise it. We didn't disguise anything the first 3 games. This may only need to happen on first and 10 and 2nd and less than 6. But if it's 3rd and long, no need to disguise as much, but can actually show blitz then drop 8 into coverage and cause some punts.

I think Dave Camp understands this too. I hope Weis is working on this when nobody is watching.

Rivethead 10 years ago

Best way to defend the read-option is to keep it off the field. Our O needs long, slow drives, with plenty of rushes from strong RBs to wear down the defense. Complemented by an efficient passing attack to keep the D honest.

Now, let's see if we do that, or if Charlie comes out slinging.....

KGphoto 10 years ago

Even though I hate playing them, this is yet another good practice against a good read-option. I don't remember exactly what Nill's offense looks like in a game, but I assume it's pretty similar to K-State.

Jim Erickson 10 years ago

Is it too early in the Weis tenure to call this an essential game? Not in terms of his job or anything, just in terms of the reality that we need to have at least 3-4 wins this season or there will be no sign of progress to sell fans and recruits on.

Micky Baker 10 years ago

No, not really. 3-4 games is a good possibility, but this team is probably going to lose some close games to a couple of teams vying for the league championship this year and next. It is that fire and that heart and the attitude of "not giving up". The best programs in this country were not created overnight. They built it over time and then sustained it by solid recruiting, but most importantly discipline and coaching.

Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 10 years ago

We are close. Look at the highlights they chopped up of Crist from TCU (super-calidad muchas gracias Señor Newell).

Yeah, whatever, he's not playing his best but we are right there. TCU is a good defense. We were in the red zone frequently but we couldn't convert. We're close. Crist will improve his decision making and the receivers have to catch what is there. Sims will put us in the E-zone on Saturday.

That's just offense the offense. The defense is taking the ball away. Maybe a couple were given to us but you have take what's given. They are a completely different defense from last year.

The offense has to play better. It's evident that they haven't performed to the level they are capable. Yet, we lost two pretty close games. If the offense plays slightly better in either game we are winning or pushing overtime. If we get our %^& together there is no reason we can't beat anyone in the nation any given Saturday. . . or Thursday. Hope remains for much.

Special teams . . . only can improve minus getting punts blocked.

I think we'll show up and give NIU everything they want and more.

Ben Kliewer 10 years ago

I was talking to a buddy of mine today and he was saying that Dayne needs to have his "ah-ha" or "lightbulb" moment. After I thought about that whole concept of the "lightbulb" moment, and whether or not is was a load of BS and my friend just wanted to hear himself talk, I decided that I agree. If Crist can kind of put all the pieces together and really lead this offense, get that "lightbulb" to come on, we could look pretty darn improved this year. I think he's got a decent set of players around him that if he clicks, it could be a really good looking offense, comparatively. I think the D is already looking improved. Anyone who doesn't think the D is improved needs to go back and watch tape from last year.

I'm not saying 6 win season or anything, but I'm saying a competent looking team... which we did not have the last two years.

Micky Baker 10 years ago

Crist needs to take what the defense gives him. It will force the defense to play more honest or get shredded. The short, high percentage passes is what TCU beat us with. But even they, they only scored 20. If we would have taken the short ones during the fourth quarter, we're probably talking about a winning streak continuing this weekend.

Dirk Medema 10 years ago

"125 more on 13 carries, including an 88-yard touchdown run" means he averaged 3 ypc the rest of the time. I seem to recall looking at the pass plays and seeing similar results. If we keep the play in front of us and tackle well, they don't seem to have the consistent output to win.

On the other hand, as we open the playbook to add the short pass out of the backfield, Sims & Cox to tenderize the D, Pick back, and others stepping up with solid coaching - the weekend is looking much nicer.

Dale Stringer 10 years ago

People need to stop nagging on Crist so much. He does deserve some, but not all of what he is getting. A third of his problem is the receivers are dragging their defenders with them and not getting open. Another third is the receivers need to catch the ball when it gets to them. The tv crew last week did an awesome jobs catching Beshears trying to alligator arm one pass and in another we watched as Turelli watched the ball all the way into his facemask. There were a couple others I can't remember the particulars on. They catch those few and Crist gains confidence and doesn't have to think about needing to be perfect with every throw. Heck, it seemed TTech was making records every year with a good QB (not great, awesome or top-10 type). But that QB would just have to put the ball into the close and the receiver would go and get it. In '07, we had the "throw it toward me and I'll get it" receivers. Pick is close to being one of the guys. All others though are still "throw it to me" guys.

John Miller 10 years ago

So Matt does this mean we don't have a chance ?

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