- Scott Powers, Reporter
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Northern Illinois junior quarterback Jordan Lynch was named the winner of the MAC's Vern Smith Leadership Award, which goes to the conference's MVP, on Wednesday.
Lynch, who was also named the MAC's Offensive Player of the Year, has passed for 2,750 yards, 23 touchdowns and four interceptions and has rushed for 1,611 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. He ranks third in the nation in total offense, fifth in rushing, 12th in passing efficiency and third in yards per play.
"(Winning the Vern Smith Award) is definitely a great accomplishment, and it definitely wouldn't happen without all of my coaches and teammates," Lynch said in a statement. "I'm grateful to the MAC coaches. Winning the award shows that your talent, your accomplishments and your hard work doesn't go unnoticed. It shows the respect they have for me as a person and as a player."
Lynch, a first-year starter, has led the Huskies to an 11-1 overall record and undefeated MAC season. Northern Illinois plays Kent State in the MAC championship on Friday.
Lynch is the sixth Northern Illinois player to win the award in the last seven years. He is also the third Northern Illinois quarterback to win it. Quarterbacks Chandler Harnish (2011) and Tim Tyrrell (1983) also earned the honor.
"I'm extremely happy for Jordan and think he's a great representative of that award," Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren said in a statement. "I think Jordan stands for everything that award is about. To see an NIU player win the Vern Smith Award six of the last seven years says a lot about our program."
Northern Illinois wide receiver Martel Moore, defensive ends Sean Progar and Alan Baxter and safety Jimmie Ward were also named to All-MAC first-team. Linebacker Tyrone Clark and left tackle Tyler Loos were second-team selections.