DeKALB – Northern Illinois kicker Mathew Sims has come up with some big kicks in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game.
Two years ago, his 33-yard field goal as time expired gave NIU a 23-20 win over Ohio. Last season, his 40-yard kick in overtime against Kent State sent the game into double overtime, and the Huskies would eventually win the game and head to the Orange Bowl down in Miami.
Lately, NIU hasn’t seen the same old Sims. He didn’t hit on any of his three field goal attempts against Toledo, and missed a 34-yarder against Western Michigan before hitting from 23 and 32 yards out.
The Huskies could very well need a big kick out of Sims on Friday against Bowling Green in the MAC title game, and Carey hasn’t lost faith in his senior kicker.
“I’ve got tons of confidence,” Carey said at Tuesday’s news conference. “He hit a couple big ones the other night. He’ll be there in the clutch.”
Other notes from Tuesday’s news conference:
• Wide receiver Tommylee Lewis, who has missed the past two games with a toe injury, will be back this week, according to Carey. Angelo Sebastiano, who was injured against Toledo, will not play.
• Cornerback Jhony Faustin, defensive tackle Ken Bishop and linebacker Jamaal Bass, all of whom sat out the Western Michigan game, will play Friday.
• Carey said he was able to catch Saturday’s Iron Bowl in his office. He said the Huskies practice field goal returns each Thursday.
“It’s hard. You’ve got fat guys on the field trying to cover a kick,” he joked. “It’s rough.”
• Playing in the MAC Championship gives the Huskies some extra practice time, and NIU will get two more weeks of practice with the bowl game.
However, Carey did say other MAC coaches who aren’t playing this week are able to be out on the road recruiting, while NIU’s coaching staff doesn’t have that option, and has to make phone calls instead.
• Offensive coordinator Bob Cole said Jordan Lynch has done a better job getting out of bounds this year instead of just trying to run people over. Cole said Lynch is healthier than he was at this time a season ago.