Toledo, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Another second-half surge has Northern
Illinois two games away from perfection.
Jordan Lynch ran for three second-half touchdowns as No. 20 Northern Illinois
defeated Toledo, 35-17, on Wednesday night.
After outscoring Ball State 28-3 in the second half last Wednesday, the
Huskies scored touchdowns on each of their first four second-half possessions
in this one.
The darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidate Lynch was 17-of-22 through the air for
202 yards, while running for 161 yards on 28 carries for Northern Illinois
(11-0, 7-0 MAC), which clinched the MAC West division with the victory.
The triumph also preserved the Huskies' chances for a second straight Bowl
Championship Series appearance. Northern Illinois lost to Florida State in the
Orange Bowl last season and are 16th in the BCS standings. The Huskies need to
stay undefeated and pass Fresno State in the BCS to have a shot.
NIU, which extended its nation's longest road winning streak to 15 games and
ran its conference winning streak to 24 games, plays Western Michigan Tuesday
in its regular season finale. The MAC Championship Game is Dec. 6.
Cameron Stingily added 146 yards rushing on 18 totes and Juwan Brescacin
caught eight balls for 121 yards in the win.
Terrance Owens was 17-of-29 for 235 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of
interceptions for the Rockets (7-4, 5-2), who had their five-game
winning streak snapped. Alonzo Russell had five receptions for 100 yards and
a score in defeat.
Despite turning the ball over twice in the first half, the Rockets managed to
take a 10-7 lead into the break, but the Huskies went 85 yards in six plays on
their opening touch of the second half.
Lynch hit Jacob Brinlee and Brescacin for 37 and 32 yards, respectively,
before Lynch scampered in from 12 yards out to put Northern Illinois in front.
Toledo answered right back as Owens fired a 36-yard strike to Bernard Reedy to
make it 17-14.
Lynch capped NIU's ensuing 6-play, 65-yard trek with a 31-yard TD burst up the
middle on 3rd-and-2 for a 21-17 advantage with 6:15 to go in the frame.
David Fluellen moved the chains on a 4th-and-2 on Toledo's next march, but
elected to punt on 4th-and-9 at NIU 35 instead of trying a long field goal.
Jeremiah Detmer then pinned his punt down to the 1-yard line.
The Huskies, though, went end-to-end for another score. Lynch picked up seven
yards on a 3rd-and-6 before Angelo Sebastiano picked up 20 on the ground on
the ensuing 3rd-and-1. Lynch then rushed for 18 and 20 yards on back-to-back
plays a few snaps later and he concluded the 15-play sequence with a 1-yard TD
plunge to give NIU a 28-17 margin early in the fourth.
Following a Toledo three-and-out, James Spencer's 1-yard TD run put the game
Earlier, George Rainey's strip-sack of Owens on the first offensive play from
scrimmage led to a Spencer 19-yard TD run three snaps later to give the
visitors the early lead.
Mathew Sims missed a 23-yard field goal on the Huskies' third offensive
possession and Toledo capped its ensuing trek with a Jeremiah Detmer 36-yard
field goal late in the first.
Toledo drove down to the NIU 2 on its next touch, but Boomer Hayes intercepted
Kareem Hunt in the end zone.
Sims then pushed two more field goals wide for the Huskies to close the half.
After missing from 40 yards out, Owens connected with Russell down the right
sideline for a 45-yard score with 51 ticks left in the half.
Lynch then drove down to the Toledo 30, but Sims was off from 47 yards out.
Northern Illinois outgained Toledo, 566-419 ... The Huskies were 10-of-15 on
third down, while the Rockets finished 10-of-17 ... Reedy tallied four
receptions for 63 yards.
The Sports Network