WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Jordan Lynch and his teammates were their usual selves on the big stage Saturday.
They scored points, they achieved new milestones and, of course, they won on the road.
Lynch threw for three touchdowns and ran for another while the Huskies scored on a kickoff return and an interception return, running away from Purdue, 55-24, to become first Mid-American Conference team to win two regular-season games over Big Ten foes in the same year.
"We consider ourselves a championship team," Lynch said. "When we go on the road and win these games, it means a lot to the program."
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Nobody has been better on the road lately than Lynch & Co.
The Huskies (4-0) have won 11 straight road games, 25 of 27 overall, now have back-to-back wins at Purdue and made this one look easy. Northern Illinois tied the MAC record for largest victory margin over a Big Ten foe, matching the 31-point win Toledo posted over Minnesota in 2001.
Lynch, the Heisman Trophy hopeful, made another huge statement in what might have been his final college game against the Big Ten.
He went 18-of-25 for 207 yards and ran nine times for 35 yards and another score. Lynch's numbers might have been even higher had the game been closer or if coach Rod Carey hadn't pulled Lynch at the start of the fourth quarter. Still, Lynch did enough to become the 26th player in Football Bowl Subdivision history to top 4,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing.
And Lynch had plenty of help, too.
Cameron Stingily, the converted linebacker, rushed 15 times for 72 yards. Eight different receivers caught passes. The defense forced five turnovers and, for once, the Huskies could relax late in the game after opening the season with wins of 30-27 at Iowa, 43-35 at Idaho and 43-39 against Eastern Illinois.
Carey liked what he saw Saturday, especially out of a defense that was ranked 115th out of 123 in total yards allowed per game and 100th in scoring per game. While they still gave up yards, they didn't give up many points till the outcome was out of jeopardy.
"For an extended period of time, probably," Carey said when asked if that was Northern Illinois' best defensive game of the season. "They've had glimpses when they played a lot better, but they strung it all together over the long haul today, really good."