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updated: 9/21/2012 6:10 PM

NIU, Kansas going in opposite directions

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  • NIU's Martel Moore catches a pass over Army's Tyler Dickson on a drive that lead to the game-winning touchdown last Saturday.

      NIU's Martel Moore catches a pass over Army's Tyler Dickson on a drive that lead to the game-winning touchdown last Saturday.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

Northern Illinois looks to extend a 16-game home winning streak on Saturday against a Kansas team going the opposite way.

The Jayhawks (1-2) have dropped 16 straight on the road entering the series' third meeting and first at Huskie Stadium. The series is tied at one win apiece.

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"It's something obviously that no one here is proud of," first-year Kansas coach Charlie Weis said. "Our goal is to work all week to correct that and end that streak."

The 56-year-old coach was Florida's offensive coordinator last year and Notre Dame head coach from 2005-09. Weis has a familiar face from that Irish tenure. Quarterback Dayne Crist played briefly in 2009 until an injury and then started for the Notre Dame in 2010 and in the 2011 opener before being benched.

Crist transferred to Kansas and was immediately eligible this fall. In three games, he's gone 52-of-103 passing for 616 yards, two touchdowns and has been picked off four times.

The Kansas offense should get a boost as running back James Sims returns from a three-game suspension. He rushed for 727 yards and nine touchdowns last year. The Jayhawks beat South Dakota State 31-17 in a 2012 opener then dropped back-to-back decisions to Rice and TCU.

Kansas is ninth overall among Big 12 defenses, giving up an average 505.2 yards per game. The Jayhawks are eighth against the pass (280.4 yards) and ninth vs. the run (224.8 yards).

That's something the reigning Mid-American Conference champs hope to exploit.

The Huskies (2-1) beat Army 41-40 on the road last week as quarterback Jordan Lynch passed for a career-high 342 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 125 more, including an 88-yard TD run.

Lynch, named Mae West player of the week, is 43-of-67 passing for 610 yards, with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He's also Northern Illinois' top rusher (304 yards on 42 attempts).

"Jordan (Lynch) has improved each week as a thrower," Huskies coach Dave Doeren said. "I think you saw him in the quick game in week two. I think you saw him in the downfield passing game in week three. You've seen him as a runner for three weeks now."

The Huskies dropped a 18-17 season opener to Iowa at Chicago's Soldier Field then thumped Tennessee-Martin 45-7.

Next up for Kansas is a rivalry game with Kansas State next Saturday in Manhattan. But first things first.

"There are several steps we have to take this year and one of them is to win on the road," Weis said. "Let's get that one behind us too. This would be a good time to do that."

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