Saturday, Jordan Lynch really hits the big time.
It can certainly be argued that he's already hit the big time, re-writing the college football record books and leading Northern Illinois to a BCS bowl game. But now he's a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, and that comes with a trip to New York for Saturday night's ceremony.
Let's just hope Lynch calls the city by the right name.
"It will be a great experience, being in the Big Apple," Lynch said. "That's what they call it, right?"
Yes, Jordan, that's what they call it.
Lynch might not have been to New York before this weekend, but that's about the only thing he hasn't done. He holds too many records to list, including twice breaking the single-game quarterback rushing record this season. He's the country's second-leading rusher. As a quarterback. And he's seen the end zone so many times this season — 22 times rushing, 23 times passing and even one time receiving — they're considering starting to send his mail there.
Though, with all the success this season, there's little doubt that Lynch would trade his Heisman consideration for a do-over in the MAC Championship Game, a 47-27 loss to Bowling Green that prevented NIU from an undefeated season and a trip to a BCS bowl game for the second consecutive season.
"I just always wanted to win games, and that was it," Lynch said at a Tuesday press conference ahead of his trip to New York. "If I give my team a chance in the fourth quarter, then that's all I can ask for. That's how I went into it, and that's how I looked at the whole situation."
But for a team-first guy like Lynch, he has to at least revel in his success when it comes to what it's meant to his team and the NIU program. Lynch has brought national exposure to his school and to his conference, making mid-week "MACtion" must-see TV. Lynch said Tuesday that he picked NIU in part because it was one of the only schools that would let the multi-faceted athlete play quarterback. And play he did. Now it's paid off for everyone involved.
"It's a great feeling," Lynch said. "The Mid-American Conference gets more exposure. It gets NIU more exposure, and it just goes to show you that great football is everywhere. If you can play football, you can play no matter what level it is. Like I've said, it puts NIU on the map."
But it's that conference that might hold Lynch back Saturday. There's no doubt his numbers are astounding, anyone will agree with that, but he's up against competition from Florida State, Auburn, Alabama and Texas A&M. These guys play ranked opponents week in and week out.
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the big favorite to win the Heisman after leading his team to an undefeated record, the No. 1 ranking and a spot in the national championship game. Lynch can't even claim a MAC championship.
But that's not deterring the Huskie quarterback's optimism or dampening his competitive spirit heading into Saturday night.
"I was happy to get the invite, but I'll tell you what, I'm going there to win," Lynch said. "I'm not going there to come in last place or second place. I'm going there to win."