Roback starts in EMU's Seventh Straight Loss
One week after setting a rushing record amongst Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks, Jordan Lynch used his arm to lead No. 18 Northern Illinois University to another victory.
The senior quarterback threw four touchdown passes and 223 yards, going 16-for-20 in a 59-20 win against Eastern Michigan University last Saturday at Huskie Stadium. He also added 18 carries for 99 yards and a rushing TD, as well as a 17-yard reception TD.
He accounted for 339 of NIU’s 658 total yards in the Huskies’ (8-0, 4-0 Mid American Conference) eighth straight win of the season.
“It’s not about the points. It’s not about how it looked. It’s how you did those little things to create points,” NIU coach Rod Carey said.
With the loss, EMU (1-7, 0-4 MAC) dropped a seventh straight game, letting up the most points and total yards it has all season.
Huskies’ junior wide receiver Tommylee Lewis helped account for that offense with eight catches for 107 yards and 4 touches for 81 yards, including a 54-yard rush in the first quarter that led to a NIU touchdown. He also threw the 17-yard touchdown pass that was caught by Lynch on a trick play.
“[He has] earned the right to pass the ball,” Carey said. “Football isn’t that complicated. You let your good players have the football in their hands.”
Eagles’ Head Coach Ron English started freshman quarterback Brogan Roback under center for the first time as he went 7-for-17 with 109 passing yards.
“He’s done some good things, so we just thought he should play,” English said.
Senior Tyler Benz came in relief in the second quarter, while he went 6-for-15 with 64 yards and a passing TD. The two split drives back and forth throughout the game.
EMU’s rushing offense put together 160 yards, which was accumulated by three separate running backs. Its only rushing touchdown came from junior Ryan Brumfield on a five-yard run with 4:11 left in the game. He had 13 rushes for 29 yards.
Junior Bronson Hill followed up two consecutive 140 yard rushing games with 66 yards on only 10 touches. It was his least amount of carries this season, while senior Javonti Greene had his most on 17 carries for 66 yards.
The Huskies started out the game with an 82-yard drive that ended in a five-yard TD pass from Lynch to redshirt junior Da’Ron Brown to give NIU an early 7-0 lead after the PAT. Brown only had three receptions for 38 yards, but had another TD he caught at 8:11 of the third quarter.
NIU scored on its next two drives after capitalizing on the first. Lynch connected to freshman running back Joel Bouagnon on a play-action fake 10-yard TD pass, completing a 38 second drive.
Three minutes later, Lynch ran one in from 30 yards out down the left sideline after he got a big block from Lewis.
“They did a good job of going on quick,” English said. “They showed some formations they had not shown [previously] and I thought that unnerved our guys a little bit.”
A 25-yard field goal by EMU sophomore kicker Dylan Mulder cut the Huskies’ lead to 21-3 at the end of the first quarter.
A 16 yard TD reception from NIU redshirt sophomore wide receiver Juwan Brescacin and a 28-yard field goal by senior kicker Matthew Sims as the second quarter ended gave the Huskies a 38-3 lead at halftime.
Despite being four-for-four in the red zone, EMU wouldn’t score its first TD until 6:33 left in the third quarter after Benz connected junior tight end Tyreese Russell for a nine yard TD pass on third-and-goal. The score barely dented the point difference, shortening NIU’s lead to 45-13.
Russell had a career-best four catches for 90 yards to go with his TD.
Jordan Lynch had three passing TD’s, a rush TD, and a reception TD all in one half, making him the first FBS player to do that in the past decade.
Lynch’s four passing TD’s matches a career-high set against Western Michigan University in 2012.
Javonti Greene led the Eagles in rushing attempts for the first time this season with 17.
Roback (17) had more passing attempts than Benz (15) for the first time in his career.
Time of possession favored EMU with 36:42 to NIU’s 23:18.
Game attendance at Huskie Stadium: 20,185.
Follow Derrick Vergolini on Twitter @derrickvergo.