After a week of head coaches getting fired, and endless debates about where teams should be ranked in the top 25 or who should win the Heisman, college football needed this game. The Northern Illinois Huskies defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes 44-37 in a double overtime thriller for the MAC Championship.
Northern Illinois led 27-13 in the fourth quarter before Kent State rallied for two touchdowns in a 15 second span to tie the score. The teams went on to trade scores and force overtime at 34 a piece. Each side recorded a field goal on their first possession of OT before the Huskies took the lead on a Jordan Lynch 2-yard rushing score. Kent State had a chance to tie the game from the 9-yard line, but a fourth down throw by Spencer Keith was intercepted, sealing the victory for Northern Illinois.
This was the Huskies second straight conference title and the first time the MAC Championship game has gone to overtime.
Lynch threw for a touchdown and ran for three more on route to breaking Denard Robinson’s NCAA rushing record for a quarterback in a single season. Lynch has run for 1,771 yards this year which beat Robinson’s mark of 1,702 in 2010. His name has even been mentioned recently for some Heisman consideration.
Believe it or not, the winner of this game had a shot at making it to a BCS Bowl. Northern Illinois, now 12-1 and winners of 12 straight, has to hope they are ranked in the top 16 after this weekend. Since they will surely be ranked ahead of the Louisville Cardinals, who is an automatic qualifier, a top 16 ranking would put them in a BCS Bowl. Regardless of where they finish, this game proved there are at least a couple of good teams playing in the MAC.
The MAC Conference is like an Indie band. There are some things that really captivate you and make you want to watch, but they never quite get the respect of the big boys. Whatever your opinion about the conference is, no one can deny that this was a fun game and pure football at its finest. MACtion was even trending on Twitter all night long.
One thing that everyone should be able to agree on, however, is that the MAC is good for College Football.
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