The finalists for college football's most prestigious individual award will be announced later Monday, and we all expect Texas A&M redshirt freshman dual-threat quarterback Johnny Manziel and Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o to lead the way.
As I've stated in my most recent Heisman Watch lists, I firmly believe that Kansas State senior quarterback Collin Klein and Ohio State sophomore signal-caller Braxton Miller deserve invites to New York as well. The dual-threats have had excellent seasons and often carried the offensive load for their squads.
But the one player who continues to get overlooked is Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, another dual-threat QB who has recorded 43 touchdowns on the season. The junior, who threw for 2,962 yards and rushed for 1,771 more, was the catalyst for an NIU team that has earned a trip to the Orange Bowl to battle Florida State.
Lynch capped off his fantastic debut season as the starter at NIU by scoring the winning touchdown on a 2-yard scamper in the second overtime of a 44-37 victory over Kent State on Friday night in one of the best MAC title games in league history. He rushed for 160 yards on 36 carries and three touchdowns while also passing for 212 yards against the Golden Flashes.
Perhaps most impressive is that until his interception in the MAC title game, he had thrown just one other pick since a September 22 game against Kansas.
His talent is unquestioned, and most every football fan can see it. But Lynch, along with his team, will continue to be criticized for playing in a non-BCS league. Like the Huskies, Lynch was underappreciated all season despite breaking Denard Robinson's single-season rushing record by a quarterback and helping lead his team to a school-record 12 wins in a row.
When the Heisman finalists are announced tonight, Lynch's season should be rewarded with an invite to the Big Apple. After all, the award goes to the most outstanding player in college football. And Lynch's resume certainly stacks up with the best.
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