Northern Illinois is adding quarterback Rocky Lombardi, a transfer from Michigan State

Chicago Tribune staff, Chicago Tribune

Rocky Lombardi, who started six games at quarterback for Michigan State this season, announced Sunday he is transferring to Northern Illinois.

Lombardi announced Friday he had entered the transfer portal. The Iowa native was a redshirt junior this fall and has two more seasons of eligibility because the 2020 season doesn’t count against any players’ eligibility clocks.

Lombardi completed 53.5% of his passes this season for 1,090 yards with eight touchdowns and nine interceptions. After throwing for 642 yards and six touchdowns in the Spartans’ first two games, including a victory over Michigan, he threw only two more touchdown passes — both in an upset of Northwestern — in the next four games while getting picked off seven times and completing 43.9% of his throws.

Payton Thorne took over as the starter for the season finale against Penn State after Lombardi suffered a head injury the week before against Ohio State.

In four seasons at Michigan State, Lombardi completed 47.9% of his passes in 17 games (nine starts) with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

NIU is coming off an 0-6 season with Ross Bowers at quarterback. Bowers completed 58% of his passes for 1,365 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. The California transfer was a sixth-year senior this fall.

The Huskies also had fifth-year senior Andrew Haidet, redshirt juniors Rodney Thompson and Connor Neville and freshmen Dustin Fletcher and Drew Cassens on the roster this season, and they signed Aurora Christian quarterback Ethan Hampton earlier this month.