Mount Pleasant, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Jordan Lynch amassed 471 yards of total offense, scoring three rushing touchdowns and passing for one more, leading 23rd-ranked Northern Illinois to a 38-17 decision over Central Michigan in a MAC clash on Saturday.
Lynch finished with an FBS-record 316 of his program's 437 rushing yards on 32 carries, while completing 20-of-30 passes for 155 yards.
"Every defense plays us different because of the weapons we have, so defenses have to make a choice, so every defense plays us a little different," said NIU head coach Rod Carey. "It takes us a minute to find what the defense is giving you, and today that was running it."
Former Northern Illinois quarterback Stacey Robinson held the previous mark of 308 yards rushing against Fresno State on Oct. 6, 1990.
Tommylee Lewis contributed 54 yards and a score on 10 receptions and Cameron Stingily added a late rushing TD for the Huskies (7-0, 3-0 MAC), who remained unbeaten in a season's first seven games since going 7-0 to begin the 2003 campaign.
Cooper Rush finished with 271 yards passing and two touchdowns on 16- of-32 efficiency for the Chippewas (3-5, 2-2), who couldn't maintain momentum from back-to-back conference road wins over Miami-Ohio and Ohio.
Titus Davis ended up recording a game-high 109 yards and a scoring grab on five receptions, while Andrew Flory had 81 yards and a touchdown on five catches.
The Huskies sprang to life in the third quarter, snapping a tie at the break and opening up a 24-14 advantage thanks to a 34-yard field goal from Tyler Wedel and a 1-yard plunge from Lynch.
Northern Illinois' opening score in the second half occurred on its first possession, as Lynch was responsible for 53 yards rushing, including the two- yard gain which preceded the go-ahead field goal.
Its second series of the half began at the 15-yard line, with the key play a 40-yard sprint from Lynch on 3rd-and-1 from his own 39 which gave the Huskies possession at the Chippewas' 21. Five plays later, Lynch plunged in from the one and it was a 10-point margin for the visitors.
"Lynch and the blocking," said CMU head coach Dan Enos on their foes' key to winning. "I'm not taking anything from Jordan Lynch but you don't just go up there and rush for 300 yards and nobody blocks."
Ron Coluzzi's 38-yard make pulled the Chippewas within one score on the second play of the fourth quarter, but the Huskies responded once more, with Lynch crossing the goal line for the third time to make it 31-17 on a 3-yard scamper to paydirt with 6:11 to play.
Northern Illinois' capper was a 19-yard touchdown run from Stingily which ended an 89-yard, seven-play march.
"You have to run the ball and stop the run," Carey added. "That's what we had to have and we did what we wanted to do. I'm so proud of our defense. They got a couple of key sacks in the second half."
The hosts hit the scoreboard first, as Rush found Davis in the end zone for a 9-yard score which capped the Chippewas' second series of the contest.
But the visitors responded with their own 9-yard TD strike, this one from Lynch to Lewis to knot the score on the ensuing possession.
Central Michigan led 14-7 after one quarter after Rush hit Flory for a 36-yard scoring strike, yet Northern Illinois responded early in the second on a 5- yard run by Lynch and went to halftime knotted at 14-all.
Northern Illinois racked up 28 first downs and 592 yards of total offense, to 17 first downs and 346 yards for Central Michigan ... The Huskies have taken 12 of the last 16 meetings with the Chippewas since 1998 ... Stingily ended with 70 yards on 14 carries ... Saylor Lavallii gained 53 yards on 16 carries for Central Michigan.