For the second consecutive year, Jordan Lynch is the Mid-American Conference’s Most Valuable Player.
Lynch took home the Vern Smith Leadership Award as the MAC’s MVP when the league announced its awards Wednesday. He won the award last season as well. It’s the seventh time in the past eight seasons the honor has gone to a Huskie.
Chandler Harnish won in 2011, while Chad Spann took it home in 2010. Larry English won it in both 2007 and 2008 and Garrett Wolfe was the winner in 2006.
“I don’t know what else I can say about Jordan, he has had a great year,” NIU head coach Rod Carey said. “This isn’t a career award, it’s an award based on this year and he’s earned it.
“The fact NIU has had seven players honored in the last eight years speaks to the tradition being built here and the program in place.”
Lynch’s average of 351 yards of total offense per game is the fourth-best mark in the nation. His 1,755 rushing yards are third in the country behind Boston College’s Andre Williams and Washington’s Bishop Sankey. Lynch has also completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,457 yards and only five interceptions. He has 22 passing touchdowns and 20 rushing scores.
Lynch was also named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year, while Carey was named Coach of the Year.
Carey said he was honored to be on the same list as former NIU coaches Bill Mallory, his college coach, and Huskie legend Joe Novak. Mallory won the award in 1983, Novak in 2002.
“I think Bill and Joe would say the same thing, but I’m just a product of having real good people around me,” Carey said. “I can’t give enough credit to my staff and the work that they’ve done this year. Obviously getting the players ready to play, and then it’s about the players and the way they’ve played.
“It’s really a team award, and I’m certainly looking forward to sharing it with our team and staff.”
The Huskies had a league-high six players named to the MAC first team, including Sterling native Tyler Loos. Loos, who was a second-team All-MAC offensive lineman last year, started the first nine games before suffering a season-ending broken leg against UMass on Nov. 2.
Loos also missed the last three games last season, including the MAC championship game and the Orange Bowl, with a broken leg.
“For Tyler to make first team despite his injury is a great accomplishment,” Carey said. “He worked his tail off to come back and get better.”
Loos and Lynch were joined on the first team offense by receiver Tommylee Lewis. Saftey Jimmie Ward, linebacker Jamaal Bass and defensive tackle Ken Bishop were first-team selections on defense.
The 10 players honored, which include five seniors and five juniors, are the most since 13 Huskies were named all-MAC in 2010.
NIU looks for its third straight MAC Championship Friday in Detroit, when the Huskies take on Bowling Green. Should the Huskies win, Lynch is expected to be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, which will be given out in New York City on Dec. 14.