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Northern Illinois clinches MAC West, keeps BCS hopes alive

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Northern Illinois has clinched a spot in the MAC Championship Game for a fourth straight season after picking up a 35-17 victory at Toledo Wednesday night. Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch passed for 202 yards and rushed for 161 yards and three touchdowns to lead Northern Illinois to a big second half to wrap up the MAC West division title.

With Northern Illinois up four, the Huskies took over from inside their own one-yard line. The field position battle would not come in to play, much to the disappointment of Toledo, as Lynch led the Huskies on a 15-play drive for a touchdown going from one end of the field to the other, literally. Lynch completed three of four pass attempts and rushed seven times for 62 yards and a touchdown on the biggest drive of the game. The score gave the Huskies a 28-17 lead and Toledo went three-and-out on the ensuing drive. From there, NIU put the game at a distance by marching right back down field again and capping the drive with a James Spencer touchdown, his second of the night.

Northern Illinois went to the BCS last season but still needs a little bit of help to make a return trip this season despite currently being ranked in a position that would typically send the Huskies to a BCS game. Norther Illinois still needs to pass Fresno State in the BCS rankings, because only one team from a non-AQ conference will be eligible for a BCS spot under the BCS rules. The Huskies (and Fresno State) are both ranked ahead of Central Florida, who appears to be heading to an American championship. If Fresno State or Northern Illinois can finish ahead of Central Florida, the highest ranked conference champion from a non-AQ conference will receive an automatic BCS bid.

With the win, Northern Illinois becomes the first MAC team to reach four straight conference championship games since Marshall played in six straight from 1997 through 2002. No MAC West team has ever played in four straight championship games and the Huskies look to become just the second team to win three straight conference championships.

Northern Illinois will play either Buffalo or Bowling Green in the MAC Championship Game in Detroit. Buffalo won Tuesday night and Bowling green faces Eastern Michigan this weekend. Buffalo hosts Bowling Green on Friday, November 29 in a game that will determine who advances to Detroit to face the Huskies.

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6 Responses to “Northern Illinois clinches MAC West, keeps BCS hopes alive”
  1. biggestredmiami says: Nov 21, 2013 3:15 AM

    The BCS is a sad thing.

  2. madtownthrowdown says: Nov 21, 2013 5:52 AM

    Well I finally put the time in and watched NIU. Definitely less than impressive. If they get a BCS bowl rest assured that no one will be watching. Clemson, Baylor, or (insert sec team here) will crush this team. It will be a sad sad day for Futbol Americana.

  3. kansacity88 says: Nov 21, 2013 6:57 AM

    But if Fresno State gets in, EVERYBODY will be watching? Is that what you’re trying to say? NIU is a good team. You can be unimpressed if you want, that’s fine. The BCS is messed up, yes! That’s not NIU’s fault. They just play their games that are on the schedule. People like to knock their SOS. Hey, they arrange these games 4-5 years in advance. No one knew that the non conference teams (in this case…Iowa and Purdue) were gonna suck so bad that far down the road. Do they deserve a BCS bid? NIU just wants the money!!! They don’t really care where they go ‘bowling!’ The voters are the ones that are gonna put them there. Yeah the ‘other’ FSU is in the drivers seat right now so don’t be too hard on NIU. They’re not even that close to getting in. Last I checked they sat at around .3700 while Fresno is ahead of them at around .4400 something. No way NIU gets in a BCS. Save all the down talk for Fresno.

  4. darkglobe1 says: Nov 21, 2013 8:24 AM

    want to know what is sad, sad, sad? people who care that much about college football. they are 18-20 year old kids. let them have fun and play in the system that is set up. People who get so worked up about it are simply pathetic.

  5. 8to80texansblog says: Nov 21, 2013 12:37 PM

    Is it possible that both Fresno St. and N. Illinois could both get in?

  6. niubears says: Nov 21, 2013 12:42 PM

    And they did it w/o their two best WRs who were both injured. Great job by Carey & co to switch the gameplan w/o those Lewis & Brown.

    isn’t it fun to watch Lynch play?

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