The NIU Huskies will be traveling to Detroit for the third straight year after defeating the Toledo Rockets Wednesday night 31-24.
If you were watching any part of the game tonight, you could feel the championship atmosphere out there on the football field. The Huskies and the Rockets matched blow for blow early on in this classic MAC matchup.
Toledo went up early 7-0 by just torching through a passive NIU defense. The Huskies finally started to get going on offense, when Jordan Lynch fumbled on a run in the endzone. This would be the first of seven turnovers in this wild game in a cold Dekalb.
On the subsequent drive, Jimmie Ward forced a fumble of his own from the Rockets. After not doing anything, Jimmie Ward comes up with a diving pick right at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. Jordan Lynch was able to throw a fade pass to Martel Moore to tie the game 7-7.
Toledo was able to pick apart the NIU defense with the help of a questionable out of bounds penalty on Jimmie Ward and go up 14-7.
The mood felt really nervous before the half ended. Neither team wanted to lose at this point.
That changed in the 3rd quarter.
NIU got the ball and then boom. One pass to Martel, one dizzying gain of balance and he was off to the races to tie the game 14-14.
After trading blows and feeling the Rockets out, Rashaan Melvin picked off Terrance Owens on his own one yard line and Lynch just unleashed on the Toledo D with a 99 yard drive to tie the game 21-14. Say hello to Perez Ashford again. Tommylee Lewis also was a solid supporter all game long.
NIU stopped the Rockets on 4th on their next drive. It was the Jordan Lynch to Moore show again. That was, until Lynch threw a jump pass that was intercepted by Dan Molls and returned to NIU territory. What would happen? Why yes, another INT for the Huskies, this time by Tyrone Clark. 97 yards and another TD, this one a rush by Akeem Daniels.
I got dizzy at this point.
The Huskies were rolling scoring 24 straight unanswered points, but this was a championship match and the Rockets weren't going to back down. This was where the Huskies had to dig deep and win the game even though there was yet another turnover, this time a fumble by TLL.
The Huskies finished with Lynch running the clock down and succeeded where many teams from the past couldn't.
Enjoy this win, Huskie fans. It was one of the biggest wins in the recent history of this program.
Jordan Lynch finished with 407 yds passing and 3 TDs with 162 yds on the ground.
NIU has won 21 games at home, which is the longest streak in the nation.