Recap: Massachusetts vs. Northern Ill
Foxboro, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jordan Lynch notched five touchdowns to keep 21st-ranked Northern Illinois rolling with a 63-19 rout of Massachusetts.
Lynch ran for 119 yards on 17 carries with four touchdowns and also completed 10-of-13 passes for 160 yards with a score in just two-plus quarters of play.
Cameron Stingily and Drew Hare each added a rushing touchdown for the Huskies (9-0, 5-0 MAC), who matched the best start in school history. The 1965 team was also 9-0 before losing in the Mineral Water Bowl.
Lorenzo Woodley was the only bright spot for UMass, as he carried the ball 38 times for 163 yards and one touchdown. Kicker Brendon Levengood made each of his four field goals with a long of 46 yards for the Minutemen (1-8, 1-4), who have lost three straight.
Northern Illinois beat UMass 63-0 last season in the first conference game between the teams. Minutemen coach Charley Molnar was happier about this one.
"Today we had a chance to go against one of the 20 best teams in the country and a team that humiliated us a year ago. I can't tell you that I feel good about today's results but I don't feel humiliated," Molnar said.
"I feel we made some strides. I feel like we made some ground on them. We have a long way to go but I believe that their team is at their apex. We are working to get there and were not there yet."
The opening drive for the Minutemen was highlighted by a Mike Wegzyn connection to Rodney Mills for 25 yards. UMass traveled 47 yards on eight plays and came up with a 42-yard field goal by Levengood.
The Huskies began the following possession with a 41-yard kick return by Paris Logan, which started NIU on their own 47-yard line. After eight plays, the largest being a 17-yard reception by Tommylee Lewis, Lynch proceeded to run the ball six yards for a Huskies touchdown.
The Minutemen started their next drive with the ball on their 35-yard line due to a penalty for the kickoff going out of bounds. Derek Beck caught a 21-yard pass from Wegzyn to help the Minutemen get into scoring range, which led to a Levengood 46-yard field goal.
The Huskies came back to trade scores again. They had two nice run plays, one from Da'Ron Brown for 17 yards and another a 25-yard touchdown from Lynch.
Lynch continued his dominance of the Minutemen defense by leading a five-play, 44-yard drive late in the first quarter that lasted just under two minutes. Once again the drive ended with a Lynch touchdown run, this time for 19 yards.
The next drive for UMass was shut down by the Huskies with an interception from Ken Bishop, which he returned for 14 yards down to the Minutemen 6-yard line.
After an incompletion by Lynch, Stingly ran the ball six yards for the score, which made it 28-6 in favor of Northern Illinois.
"The way we started the game was key," said NIU coach Rod Carey. "We were able to move fast in the first and second halves, and our return and kicking game did extremely well today. We had all facets of our game working for us."
On the ensuing kickoff, UMass' Shaquille Harris coughed up the ball but was able to fall on top of it and recover his own fumble. The Minutemen then pieced together their best drive of the game to this point, traveling nine plays for 83 yards. The drive was capped off with the Minutemen's lone touchdown, a 1-yard run by Woodley with 9:41 left in the first half.
Lynch wasted absolutely no time responding to the UMass touchdown when he found Juwan Brescacin for a 66-yard touchdown completion on the very next play from scrimmage.
The Huskies' next possession came with only 1:45 left in the half. Lynch continued his trend and led them right down the field to score in just 75 seconds. Draco Smith caught a 30-yard pass to take the Huskies to the Minutemen 15-yard line, and Lewis ran the ball in for a touchdown on the next play from scrimmage for a 42-13 lead.
The Huskies began the second half with the ball as well, though the Minutemen managed to stop them and hold them to a field goal attempt. The attempt was blocked by Quayshun Smith, but recovered by the Huskies' Jared Volk for a first down.
It took four plays after the recovery to get Northern Illinois into the end zone on an 11-yard run by Lynch. his fourth of the game.
UMass then drove 55 yards on nine plays before stalling and having to settle for a 44-yard Levengood field goal.
On Northern Illinois' next drive, A.J. Sebastiano fumbled at the end of a 19- yard run and Randall Jette recovered it for UMass.
The Minutemen once again drove into field goal range, but settled for a 40- yard Levengood field goal -- his fourth and final of the game -- to bring the score to 49-19 in favor of Northern Illinois.
The Huskies weren't finished scoring as Hare, who came in for Lynch, threw an 81-yard touchdown pass to Chad Beebe with 9:02 to play.
After stopping UMass once again, the Huskies drove down the field with ease and Hare scampered 47 yards for a touchdown that brought the score to 63-19.Game Notes
Northern Illinois has won 22 consecutive games against MAC opponents going
back to 2011. The Huskies have also won 14 consecutive games on the road
... Lynch's four rushing touchdowns were a career high. He also leads the team
with 12 on the season ... Both Brescacin's and Beebe's touchdowns came on
their only catches.