Northern Illinois quarterback will challenge Kansas
- Sep. 21, 2012
- 1 Comment
Nike has this new slogan for its NFL uniforms. It’s short, factually soundand must have taken many long days to come up with:
Fast is faster.
Yet the men behind the swoosh are onto something.
Northern Illinois has this new quarterback, Jordan Lynch, but the dual-threat signal-caller may as well be the Huskies’ entire offense.
In three games this season, Lynch has 914 total yards, 304 from rushing, along with 10 total touchdowns — five in the air and five on the ground
And here’s the kicker: Lynch is fast. Faster than NFL quarterback Chandler Harnish, who played for Northern Illinois last season. And as Nike says, fast is faster.
A mobile quarterback is nothing new for Northern Illinois. Harnish ran for more than 1300 yards a year ago while running the Huskies’ offense, but Lynch is different.
The Kansas coaches prepping to stop him say Lynch is more dynamic. He’s got strength and speed deceptive for his six-foot, 216 pound frame. Once Lynch gets moving he’s prone to barrel through a defensive line the way coaches preach fullbacks to — head down, legs pumping and forceful movement until the whistle blows — and he’s got double the rushing yards than the Huskies starting tailback to show for it.
It’s exactly how Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren planned to run his offense too.
“We’re going to go fast,” Doeren said on Northern Illinois media day back in August. “That’s one thing we didn’t do a whole lot last year. Go as fast as you can, slow it down, speed it up, slow it down. So that the defense is constantly wondering what the next thing’s going to be.”
Kansas coach Charlie Weis calls Lynch a “pick your poison” quarterback. His run game is to be feared while is pass game is to be respected.
He’s not the type of quarterback that you can load up the defensive line against either, as Lynch will burn a front with a quick pass too easily. Its put Weis and defensive coordinator Dave Campo in a challenging position as they game-plan for the Jayhawks first road test of 2012.
“He’s a dangerous player,” Weis said. “Anytime you’re a dynamic rusher it opens up the passing game, because everyone has to worry about stopping the quarterback as well as the running back.
“If you bring in an extra guy down there to try to contain the run, and risk chunks in the passing game, I think that’s a fine line you have to tread when you’re looking at him.”
It was a line Army couldn’t toe last Saturday. The Black Knights allowed Lynch to rack up 342 yards and four touchdowns in the air, while rushing for 132 yards — including an 88-yard touchdown run —as he led the Huskies to a 41-40 victory.
The goal for Kansas will be to put enough pressure on Lynch to take away the run game and force himinto bad passes — especially with the Jayhawks defense leading the nation with 12 turnovers.
Easier said than done, even with correct scouting.
“All of those plays we saw today, we saw them all week on film,” Army linebacker Nate Combs told goarmysports.com after playing the Huskies. “Northern Illinois is going to pound you and then go play-action. “
In part, Army players couldn’t handle Lynch’s running ability. The Black Knights were exhausting their defenders. That’s when Army coach Rich Ellerson decided to put an emphasis on challenging Lynch through the air — which didn’t bode well either.
“When you start to defend the quarterbacks legs, which you have to when you defend that style of play, you start to run out of guys,” Ellerson said. “We hadn’t seen them throw a lot of fades, and we wanted to see if he was any good at it. He is.”
The moral of the story: Passing moves the ball just fine for Lynch and the Huskies, but fast is faster.
Blake is a senior from Chicago, Ill., studying journalism on the news and information track. Read more from Blake Schuster.