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posted: 9/30/2012 12:01 AM

Northern Illinois defeats Central Michigan 55-24

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Associated Press

DEKALB -- Leighton Settle ran for a career-best 152 yards and scored 3 touchdowns, and Northern Illinois ran its home winning streak to 18 games Saturday with a 55-24 victory over Central Michigan in both teams' Mid-American Conference opener.

Settle opened the scoring with an 11-yard run in the first quarter before adding a 6-yard TD in the second. In the fourth, he ran 46 yards down the sideline to help seal the victory for the Huskies (4-1), who closed the game on a 31-3 run.

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Quarterback Jordan Lynch threw for 215 yards and a touchdown and added 144 yards rushing.

He and Keith Harris Jr. each scored on the ground. Mathew Sims kicked 2 field goals and ran 14 yards for a score on a fake field-goal attempt.

Ryan Radcliff threw for 332 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 92-yarder to Titus Davis, for the Chippewas (2-2).

Zurlon Tipton added a rushing score.

The Huskies' 4-1 start to the season is their best since 2003, when NIU opened the year 7-0. The Huskies are 1-0 in the MAC for the first time since 2010.

Both quarterback Jordan Lynch and Leighton Settle rushed for over 100 yards on the day. It is the first time this season, and the first time since Nov. 15, 2011 versus Ball State when Chandler Harnish (181) and Jasmin Hopkins (122) each went over the 100-yard mark.

Settle had his second 100-yard day of the season and of his career.

Lynch scored his sixth rushing touchdown of the year and recorded his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season, a career high. His previous best was November 26, 2010, at Eastern Michigan, with 142 yards. Lynch has six career 100-yard games.

On the fake field-goal play, the Huskies faced a fourth-and-7 when place-kicker Mat Sims received a pitch from holder Ryan Neir and ran 7 yards for a touchdown -- his first career score.

He finished with 17 points, including the TD, 2 field goals, and 5 PATs.

The Huskies rolled up a season-high 622 yards of offense on 88 plays, also a season best. NIU last reached the 600-yard plateau November 15, 2011, in their 41-38 win over Ball State when they totaled 710 yards. The Huskies rushed for a season-high 407 yards, on 55 carries.

For the fourth straight game, senior receiver Martel Moore caught a touchdown pass, his fifth of the year in the first quarter on a 14-yard catch.

Sean Progar recorded his first career interception following a tipped pass by Joe Windsor with the Chippewas inside the red zone at the 16. Progar returned it for 21 yards and finished the game with 4 tackles.

The NIU defense surrendered its second-lowest rushing total this season, holding the Chippewas to 130 yards on 31 carries.

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