The Northern Illinois Huskies entered their MAC battle with the Ball State Cardinals looking to prove to the fans that they were the best team in the conference. The Huskies were undefeated at 9-0 and faced their stiffest challenge in the West division from the 9-1 Cardinals. Ball State looked to shut down the Huskies top ranked rushing attack in order to pull off the road upset. However, the Cardinals secondary was carved up by quarterback Jordan Lynch and the Huskies vertical passing assault in dropping the game 48-27.
The Cardinals realized that in order to get the road upset, they needed to shut down the Huskies top ranked rushing attack. The Cardinals defensive line did a solid job of filling the gaps and holding the Huskies to 75 first half rushing yards in opening up a 24-20 halftime lead.
Northern Illinois, however, did not panic and made critical halftime adjustments that exploited the holes in the Cardinals secondary. Quarterback Jordan Lynch connected on short to intermediate routes that opened up the Cardinals defense. Lynch found his rhythm early in the third quarter and Northern Illinois started to gain momentum from the Cardinals.
Lynch completed 26 of 32 passes for 345 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Lynch spread the ball to seven different receivers on the night with his favorite target being wide receiver Da’Ron Brown. The junior torched the Cardinals for 209 yards on eight receptions and two touchdowns. Brown averaged 26.1 yards per catch and forced double teams in the second half that opened up the running game and allowed Northern Illinois to march down the field.
The victory moved the Huskies to a perfect 10-0 and moved Ball State to 9-2 on the year. However, Northern Illinois will have no time to celebrate as the team faces the Toledo Rockets next week in a game that will have huge implications within the West division.