Although many NCAA football experts called it a reach, the Northern Illinois Huskies were selected to play in the Discover Orange Bowl versus the Florida State Seminoles in 2012. Unfortunately, the Huskies were merely overpowered in this contest and the motivation to prove everyone wrong slowly dwindled. Now, NIU is given the tough task of repeating the same Cinderella run, but will they even be relevant in 2013?
Playing in the MAC, the Huskies are rarely in the spotlight, so when they were overmatched by the Seminoles it left a bad taste in the nation’s mouth. Head coach Rod Carey was given the position hours before the Discover Orange Bowl as Dave Doeren bolted for another job after guiding the Huskies through a historic campaign.
Carey has plenty to prove in his first full season with the program, but he does not have the luxury of starting with minimal expectations. The folks in Dekalb, Ill., have the taste of success fresh in their mouths and will not settle for mediocrity yet again. One player to keep an eye on as spring practices ensue is quarterback Jordan Lynch. While under center in 2012 Lynch dazzled with 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions — Lynch will be given a larger load this year as last season was the first time he was deemed a full-time starter.
The Huskies have a speed-demon in Lynch who rushed for 100 yards or more in all but one game last season. Look for Lynch to continue making an impact on the ground as NIU does not have much offense outside of the versatile quarterback.