First job for '13 Iowa, beat a Heisman candidate

You're Northern Illinois, why not start a Heisman campaign?

Published: June 24 2013 | 11:10 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 4:58 pm in

That Northern Illinois game just gets bigger and bigger for the Hawkeyes.

Well, the "bigness" is up for debate. Iowa plays host to Northern Illinois. This game can only be played on paper until Aug. 31. And on paper, it's a 4-8 Iowa team against the Huskies, who finished 12-2, won the Mid-American Conference and broke the BCS with a berth opposite Florida State in the Orange Bowl. (It lost to the Seminoles, but just take "BCS buster" out of that last thought.)

This game will set a tone for Iowa '13. It's just the first game. No one is out of pretty much anything with a week 1 loss. Still, it's Iowa opening with a MAC team at Kinnick Stadium. Northern Illinois is the best the MAC has to offer. Iowa finished 4-8. On paper, this is a grunt fest.

One thing NIU has going against it is it lost head coach Dave Doeren to North Carolina State. Rod Carey, the team's offensive coordinator, takes over.

One thing the Huskies have going for them is QB Jordan Lynch. You're going to be hearing a lot about him in the latest cycle of NCAA football news.

The school launched a Heisman Trophy campaign for Lynch today. (Lynch finished seventh in Heisman voting last season.)

There's a website: jordanlynchfor6.com

There's a Twitter: @LynchFor6

There's a Facebook page:  Jordan Lynch For 6

“I think a Heisman campaign isn’t off of what he could do or will do, but what he’s done,” NIU head coach Rod Carey said. “What he’s already accomplished in one year as a starter is more than what some people do in a career.  I know that every coach in America would sure love to have a leader like Jordan on their team."

For what it's worth, Iowa held Lynch to his lowest total offense last season with 173 yards. He completed just 6 of 16 passes against the Hawkeyes for 54 yards. He also had a 73-yard TD run and 119 rushing yards. The 119 rushing was Lynch's third lowest total of '12. He had just 44 against Florida State and 60 against Tennessee-Martin.

I love the enthusiasm here. Is it a risk? Of course. The Hawkeyes put huge dents in Heisman campaigns for Arizona State QB Andrew Walter and Miami (Ohio) QB Ben Roethlisberger.

You're Northern Illinois and this is going to put you front and center in the college football news cycle. It's better to be front and center in September, but you're Northern Illinois and so you take this risk, get some buzz going and, hey, have some fun.

It's another "on paper" for the Hawkeyes to deal with.

Here's the release:

NORTHERN ILLINOIS LAUNCHES HEISMAN CAMPAIGN FOR QUARTERBACK JORDAN LYNCH

Jordan Lynch for 6 Website, Twitter Account and Facebook Page Go Live

DeKALB, Ill. – After a 2012 season that saw Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch set four NCAA and 14 school records while leading the Huskies to the Mid-American Conference Championship and a historic appearance in the Discover Orange Bowl, NIU today launched an official “Jordan Lynch for 6” Heisman campaign for 2013.

The initial launch features the JordanLynchfor6.com website with video highlights and features, biographical information, statistics, records and more.  Along with the website, Northern Illinois has created a Twitter page @Lynchfor6 which will tweet links to stories on Lynch and the Huskies, interesting facts about Lynch on and off the field, including the “Lynch Fact of the Day.”  NIU has also re-launched the Jordan Lynch for 6 Facebook page with a new look that will engage fans in different ways.

In his first season as NIU’s starting quarterback a year ago, Lynch became the first player in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) history to pass for more than 3,000 yards and run for more than 1,500.  He finished the season ranked fourth in the nation in rushing and had more 100-yard games (12) than any other player in Division I.  The Chicago native – a product of Mt. Carmel High School – led Northern Illinois to a 12-game winning streak, capped by a victory in the MAC title game over Kent State in double overtime.

The “Jordan Lynch for 6” moniker relates to Lynch’s jersey number and most importantly, to his habit of getting the Huskies into the end zone. As a junior, he was responsible for 44 touchdowns with 25 passing and 19 rushing scores.  That total was more than the number scored by 50 FBS teams in 2012.  With an average of 353.8 yards of total offense per game last season, Lynch accounted for 75.3 percent of NIU’s offensive yards.

Lynch earned second team All-America honors from the Associated Press and Phil Steele’s Magazine a year ago, won the Vern Smith Leadership Award as MAC MVP and was a finalist for the Manning Quarterback Award.  He finished seventh in voting for the Heisman Trophy.

“I think a Heisman campaign isn’t off of what he could do or will do, but what he’s done,” said NIU Head Coach Rod Carey.  “What he’s already accomplished in one year as a starter is more than what some people do in a career.  I know that every coach in America would sure love to have a leader like Jordan on their team.

“When you have a leader like him, he will always defer to the team and know that he can’t be there without his team. The attention to the team and to the program is well-deserved based on what’s been going on here not just last year but over the last 10 years.”

The public launch of the Jordan Lynch for 6 Heisman efforts is the preseason step of a plan that NIU hopes to carry throughout the season.

“At a certain point, any Heisman campaign is about Jordan and what he and NIU accomplish on the field,” said NIU Associate Athletic Director Donna Turner.  “Our goal at this time is to make sure people realize what Jordan did last year, and that one of the most dynamic and multi-talented players in college football is back. This is phase one, and we’re excited to get it started.”

Lynch and the Huskies open the 2013 season at Iowa on Saturday, August 31 and play their first home game Saturday, Sept. 21 versus Eastern Illinois at Huskie Stadium.  Northern Illinois has a 21-game home winning streak at Huskie Stadium dating back to 2009.

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