Jordan Lynch broke his own NCAA record for rushing yards in a game by a quarterback, gaining 321 yards in No. 14 Northern Illinois’ 33-14 victory over Western Michigan on Tuesday night.
With the win, NIU moves to 12-0 overall and 8-0 in the MAC. At this point, it looks like the Huskies are a shoo-in to make a BCS bowl so long as they win the MAC title game on Dec. 6. Western Michigan falls to 1-11 and 1-7.
Lynch’s previous NCAA mark was set earlier this season when he rushed for 316 yards against Central Michigan. He got off to a great start against the Broncos, rushing for 229 yards and two scores in the first half as the Huskies forged a 20-7 lead. His final carry, a six-yarder early in the fourth quarter, gave him the fresh record. He finished with three touchdowns on the ground and one in the air, completing 5 of 17 passes for 39 yards in the snowy confines of Huskie Stadium. But with NIU ripping off 425 rushing yards at eight yards a pop, his arm was not really needed tonight.
Now that the Heisman race is in flux, a performance like this might get Lynch more attention from the trophy’s voters. He was fourth in the most recent HeismanPundit Straw Poll and, with another record-breaking game under his belt, a trip to New York could in the offing if things break his way in the next week or two.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah