Why you should watch NIU's Lynch tonight

One of the best players in college football will be in action Wednesday night in a nationally televised showdown against Toledo.

America, meet Jordan Lynch, the quarterback at Northern Illinois.

Jordan LynchUS PRESSWIREJordan Lynch has led the Huskies to a 9-1 mark in his first season as the starting QB.

When the Huskies (9-1, 6-0 MAC) host the Rockets (8-2, 5-1) at Huskie Stadium in a key MAC West showdown, all eyes should be on the junior dual-threat signal-caller who will try to stretch the country's longest home-field winning streak to 21.

Lynch, who ranks third in the nation in total offense with 3,517 yards, will also try to gain some national Heisman Trophy love that has seemingly eluded him all season long.

Despite leading all FBS quarterbacks with 1,342 rushing yards — yes, more than Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Ohio State's Braxton Miller or Nebraska's Taylor Martinez — Lynch also gets it done through the air, as well. In addition to his 16 rushing touchdowns and 7.3 yards per carry average, the 6-foot, 216-pounder has thrown for 2,175 yards and 19 scores against just three interceptions as the Huskies have mowed down every opponent since falling by one point to Iowa in the season opener at Chicago's Soldier Field. Not bad for a youngster who ran the triple-option offense at Illinois high school power Mount Carmel and who was severely underrecruited because of it.

What has been every major program's loss was the gain of former NIU and current Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill and current Huskies leader Dave Doeren. In his first season as the starting QB, Lynch has set an NCAA record for most consecutive 100-yard rushing games for a quarterback (eight) and became the only quarterback with two games of 150 yards passing and rushing. He also has more rushing yards than standout running backs Le'Veon Bell, Montee Ball and Stepfan Taylor. Impressive indeed.

Because of Lynch's standout play, NIU is once again in position to claim the MAC West division crown. And once again Toledo stands in its way, as this is the third consecutive season the two schools have played late-season games that determine the West crown. NIU was victorious in the last two, including a wild 63-60 win at Toledo last year. But the Rockets still control their own destiny. With victories over NIU and Akron, Toledo will be in the MAC Championship game for the first time since 2004.

But with Lynch in command of the NIU offense, it's hard to envision the Huskies not clinching their third consecutive trip to Ford Field with a win Wednesday night.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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