By Phil Steele
Jordan Lynch broke his own FBS rushing record for QB’s with 321 yards and Northern Illinois had its first unbeaten regular season in 50 years. With temps in the teens, occasional snow fall and winds, NIU beat 1-10 Western Michigan 33-14. There were 17 seniors, including Lynch, playing their final home game. NIU took its opening possession 52/11pl but would miss a 34 yard FG. They took their 2nd possession 80/8pl and got a 10 yard td pass, 7-0. WMU surprisingly went 63/12pl for a td to tie it with 11:09 left in the half, 7-7. NIU went 75/6 and 77/5pl for td’s on its next 2 drives to go up 20-7 with 7:31 left in the half. After NIU punted 16 yards, WMU missed a 42 yard FG with 1:41 left and had a 37 yarder blocked on the final play of half. At the half NIU only had a 315-188 yard edge. WMU opened the 3Q with a 21/3pl drive but on 4&1 was SOD at the NIU26. NIU went 68/10pl but settled for a 23 yard FG with 5:30 left in the 3Q. WMU fumbled at its own 30 but forced a punt on 4&15. After an 8 yard PR, NIU got a 37 yard td run by Lynch, 30-7. After a 23 yard PR they started at the WM39 on the first play of the 4Q and got a 32 yard FG with 12:52 left. WMU went 53/12pl getting a 1 yard td run with 4:40 left to make it 33-14. NIU got 2 FD’s and took a knee at its own 42.
Dak Prescott had a nerve injury to his non-throwing arm and missed the last 2 games. He was doubtful to play vs Ole Miss. Frosh Damian Williams, who is the 3rd string QB, made his first career start with backup Tyler Russell out. He hit just 8-18-82 with an interception. Mississippi St probably saved Dan Mullen’s job as he’s now beaten his rival 4 of the last 5 years and got them to a bowl game despite a brutal schedule. This game was played on Thanksgiving Day and Prescott came off the bench in the 4Q to guide the win. The Rebels were intercepted at midfield on their first possession, went 87/13pl on their 2nd but settled for and missed a 27 yard FG. Ole Miss’ 4th possession started at its own 8 and they were intercepted but on the return, MSU tried a lateral and fumbled it right back at the 5. UM got 1 FD then was intercepted at its own 30 with 4:00 left in the half. MSU went 30/6pl and got a td to go up 7-0. Each team punted and UM blocked a punt and recovered in the EZ for a td with :26 left in the half. At the half UM had a 132-104 yard edge. UM opened the 3Q with an 81/17pl drive but settled for a 22 yard FG. Six punts. MSU went 43/6pl getting to the UM37 but was intercepted at the 7 and returned 25 yards. Three punts. MSU went 54/13pl and settled for a 36 yard FG with 1:59 left to tie. UM punted and MSU went 45/10pl with Prescott at QB on his 3rd series but missed a 39 yard FG on the final play of regulation. In OT, MSU, after getting 1 FD opted to go for it on 4&1 and got a 3 yard td run by Prescott. UM got 1 FD to the 11. Then Wallace took off and headed for the game-tying td but fumbled into the EZ for a TB. UM had a 318-296 yard edge but lost and Prescott was 11-20-115 yards and 29 yards rushing.
Texas sacked Texas Tech’s QB’s nine times for 59 yards with Jackson Jeffcoat getting 3 sacks. Texas moved to 7-1 in the Big 12 and could get a tie for the Big 12 title with a win this week over Baylor. UT actually had more control in this game than the score would indicate at the half. They led 20-10 but TT’s only scores came on a fake punt by Ryan Erxleben who ran 51 yards for a td to lead 7-0. At the end of the half with UT leading 20-7, TT went 3&out but roughing the P gave them a FD. Four plays later on 3&11 they fired incomplete but a late hit roughing the QB penalty gave them another FD and they would get a 32 yard FG. Because of the 2 drive saving penalties they only trailed 20-10. Each team fumbled to open the 3Q then UT went 51/8pl for a td. Two punts. TT was sacked and fumbled at the UT29 and TT went 71/10pl for a td on the first play of the 4Q, 34-10. UT fumbled at the TT22 on its next drive and then TT went 78/7pl getting a 4&6, 11 yard td pass to pull within 34-16. UT went 81/14pl and got a 4&1, 1 yard td run by Tyrone Swoopes for the 41-16 final.