Ward was named a first team safety alongside Mississippi’s Cody Prewitt, while Lynch was tabbed as the second team’s quarterback in a backfield that includes fellow Heisman Trophy finalist Tre Mason of Auburn and Tyler Gaffney of Stanford. The list is among the first major All-American teams to be announced over the next two weeks.
“I’m really happy for Jimmie to get recognized like this and for Jordan to be an All-American for the second year,” said NIU Head Coach Rod Carey. “All season, Jimmie has been playing and leading like an All-American and I think what Jordan has done at this point speaks for itself. These individual honors don’t come without team success and the great thing is both Jimmie and Jordan recognize that.”
Ward has compiled a team-high 89 tackles, 57 solo, and six interceptions to lead the Mid-American Conference and tie for 13th in the country. Additionally, he has recorded 14 passes defended, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and one fumble recovery. The Mobile, Ala., native was named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award and earned first team All-MAC honors. Last week, the Mobile, Ala., native accepted an invitation to play in the 2014 Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Lynch, who was named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy Monday, has passed for 2,676 yards and 23 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,881 yards and 22 scores. The Chicago native was named MAC West Offensive Player of the Week a record eight times this year and gained over 300 yards of total offense in 11 of the Huskies’ 13 games in 2013.
Lynch ranks fourth nationally in total offense (351.0 yards per game) and is second in both rushing yards (1,881) and points responsible for (276). He is only the fifth player in NCAA history to have 20 rushing and 20 passing touchdowns in a season and has broken the NIU single season record for touchdowns scored.
Lynch has twice set the NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 316 and 321-yard outings versus Central and Western Michigan, respectively, and is averaging 6.9 yards per carry on the season. He is completing 63.1 percent of his passes and has thrown for 150 yards or more in 12 games while reaching the 100-yard rushing mark seven times, including in each of NIU’s last six contests.
For the full USA Today article, click here.
The Huskies close out their 2013 season Dec. 26 when they face Utah State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. The game kicks off at 8:30 p.m. CT at Qualcomm Stadium and will be broadcast on ESPN. To buys tickets or travel packages to the game, go to NIUSportsTravel.com. For more information on the game, check out Poinsettia Bowl Central on NIUHuskies.com.