Last season, the nationally-ranked Northern Illinois Huskies were dreaming of a BCS bowl bid as they entered the MAC Championship Game. Those dreams came crashing down around the Huskies as the Bowling Green Falcons secured a 47-27 upset victory to win their first MAC title since 1992.
Northern Illinois learned its lesson, and the Huskies are taking this year’s meeting in the championship game far more seriously.
The Huskies lead the Falcons 20-10 at halftime. But North Illinois head coach Rod Carey isn’t comfortable with the two-score lead as the team’s went to the locker room for the intermission.
“Both offenses can go at any moment,” Carey told ESPN at the end of the second quarter. “It’s tough. It’s been back-and-forth. It’s going to be a fourth quarter game.”
Both offenses already flashed at points in the first two quarters.
Northern Illinois’ Drew Hare opened the scoring on a five-yard quarterback draw for a touchdown. Hare was also 19-of-30 passing for 127 yards and another touchdown pass.
The scoring toss came late in the first half when the Huskies drove 68 yards in 1:06 before Hare found senior tight end Luke Eakes in the corner of the end zone.
The Falcons’ lone touchdown came on a spectacular catch from wide receiver Gehrig Dieter. The sophomore rose above the Huskies cornerback with the safety looming to snag a moonshot thrown by Bowling Green quarterback James Knapke for a 41-yard score.
Bowling Green will likely up the tempo and the intensity during the second half. Northern Illinois has a nice lead, and it’s the more talented squad. A sound second-half effort should be enough to earn the school’s third MAC title in four years.
But one can never truly know what to expect during some weekday MACtion.
Eastern Kentucky wide receiver Cameron Catron was shot in the early morning hours of Sunday following a dispute outside a bar.
According to WKYT-TV, Catron and an unidentified man were fighting outside the Two Keys Tavern in Lexington, Ky., when the other man ran to his vehicle, returned with a gun and shot Catron. It is not known where he was shot.
The suspect, described as wearing a blue shirt with dreadlocked hair culminating in frosted tips, is still at large.
“He’s one of the biggest hearted guys I know. Whoever done that to him was just really in a bad place right now,” teammate Gunner Slone told the station.
A Belfry, Ky., native, Catron was a redshirt freshman in 2018; he appeared in two games on special teams.
Catron has already undergone two surgeries to remove the bullet and repair internal damage. A social media post by his mother indicated he is out of ICU and able to walk a short distance.
Breon Dixon has yet to really make a mark in college football, but his closet has become well stocked. A 4-star prospect out of Suwanee, Ga., Dixon signed with Ole Miss and enrolled in January of 2017, but left quickly thereafter.
Given a waiver to play immediately as part of the Hugh Freeze explosion, Dixon was enrolled at Nebraska within 365 days of originally enrolling at Ole Miss. He appeared in four games on special teams for the Huskers this season, but by this spring he was no longer a Cornhusker, either.
In May, the Omaha World-Herald contacted Iowa Western Community College head coach Scott Strohmeier, who said Dixon would become a Reiver. Now, Dixon has confirmed that himself.
He is expected to enroll in classes in July and compete for IWCC this fall, with the expectation he’ll look for another four-year university in the winter. Strohmeier told the World-Herald he didn’t expect Dixon to re-enroll at Nebraska, meaning the player could be looking for a fourth school in as many years come 2020.
It appears Darius Slade has found himself yet another college football home.
In early February, it was confirmed that Slade had taken the first step in moving on from Arizona State by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database. A little over four months later, it’s now being reported that the defensive end is enrolled at South Florida.
For what it’s worth, a USF official declined to confirm Slade’s addition to the roster and the lineman isn’t yet listed on the football program’s online roster.
Slade, who originally began his collegiate career at Ohio State before transferring and landing at ASU prior to the start of the 2017 season, played in 10 games in 2018 after sitting out the previous year to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
As a graduate transfer, Slade would be eligible to play for the Bulls immediately in 2019.
On the same day we noted an addition to Marshall’s roster, there’s been a development regarding one of the football program’s personnel subtractions earlier this offseason.
Utilizing his personal Twitter account, Ty Tyler (pictured, No. 1) announced that he is “honored and overwhelmed to announce I am committed to [the] University of Louisville.” Earlier this offseason, the defensive lineman opted to enter his name into the NCAA transfer database after four years with the Thundering Herd.
As Tyler will be coming to the Cardinals as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately for the school in 2019. The upcoming season will serve as the lineman’s final year of eligibility.
This past season, Tyler led the Thundering Herd with eight sacks and tied for second on the team with nine tackles for loss. He leaves Huntington having been credited with 15.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in 35 career games, 20 of which were starts.