Nic McKissic-Luke

Northern Illinois University

Run Game Coordinator/Running Backs

Conference: MAC

Coach Stats

Why should this nominee be considered for the Broyles Award?
NIU Head Coach Thomas Hammock: “Nic is the best running backs coach in the country. What he’s been able to do with our backfield not only transformed our offense, it transformed our team. Our ability to run the ball with the players we have has been a huge difference in us going from 0-6 (in 2020) to 7-3 (in 2021), one of the biggest turnarounds in the country. Our backfield consists of all freshmen and one (grad transfer) senior and the way that he’s been able to have them prepared week in and week out has given us the opportunity to have confidence in the backfield. When we lost our starter halfway through the season, he had the next man up and ready and we have not missed a beat. In addition, he works with the kickoff return and the punt teams, two units that are excelling on our special teams.”
Coach's Past Performance
NIU Head Coach Thomas Hammock: “When Nic joined our staff in June of 2020, we were in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and ended up having very little offseason or preseason and it showed as our youthful team went 0-6 while averaging just 127 rushing yards and scoring seven rushing TDs over the six-game season. The change this year is a direct correlation to what he started developing when he walked in and how he developed the backs we had over the offseason.
Team Record and Standings
NIU is 7-3 on the year and lead the Mid-American Conference in overall wins (7) and league wins (5) while losing just one MAC game to date. One year after finishing the season 0-6, the Huskies need just one win in their last two games to clinch a division title and a spot in the MAC Championship game. NIU opened the season with a win at Georgia Tech and are the best team in the country in close games with four wins by two points or less and a 6-2 mark in one-score games.
Team/Unit Stats
NIU is averaging 220.3 rushing yards per game in 2021 to rank 15th nationally and second in the MAC. The Huskies’ rushing prowess has been a huge reason for the team’s turnaround as four different NIU players have run for 100 or more yards in a game nine times this season with freshmen running backs accounting for eight of those 100-yard games. NIU ran for a season-high 319 yards versus Bowling Green and have scored at least one rushing TD in nine of 10 games with 22 total. The Huskies have been particularly effective in the Red Zone with 37 scores in 38 attempts to rank third nationally in Red Zone Offense. gNIU also ranks 4th in the MAC in total offense with a 432.2 yards per game average. Collectively, the Huskies are averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
Individual Player Stats
NIU has used six running backs in 2021. Freshman Jay Ducker is averaging 162.3 rushing yards per game over the last four games and leads NIU with 734 rushing yards on 131 attempts, a 5.6 yards per carry average. Ducker ran for a season-high 210 yards on 33 carries versus Bowling Green, the most rushing yards by a Huskie since 2013. He took over for freshman Harrison Waylee, who started NIU’s first 5 games and ran for 574 yards on 101 carries, a 5.7 ypc average. He averaged 114.8 yards per game. Senior grad transfer Clint Ratkovich is a short yardage specialist with a team-leading eight touchdowns plus two receiving scores with 74 carries for 252 yards. First-year freshmen Antario Brown (47 carries, 210 yards) has a 100-yard game while true freshman Mason Blakemore is one of five running backs to score a rushing TD this year.