MAC Championship Game: Players To Watch Who Aren't Chandler Harnish

If you don't mind taking a break from your daily #Harnishing habit, the MAC Championship Game does have several other players. Maybe they have NFL talent, or maybe this title game is as good as it'll get for their career. A great case in point: When Akron won the 2005 championship, it was on this throw:

The receiver was Domenik Hixon, now a standout receiver for the New York Giants, although he tore his ACL. (He did it making an amazing catch on Monday Night Football, for what it's worth.) The thrower of that 2005 MACCG game-winning touchdown was Luke Getsy, a person who was unable to crack an NFL depth chart.

I hate to belabor the point by using a game which involved NIU losing in the final seconds, but there are so many of those games it's hard not to fall into an example. The point is that some of these players could go onto the NFL. Harnish may very well be one of them. Others will not, but here's who you want to watch regardless. They're not necessarily the best six players on the field, but for brevity's sake I've selected six notable players.

(Also I'm going to leave out Tyler Tettleton. You know him. YOU ALWAYS WATCH THE QUARTERBACK.)

OHIO wide receiver LaVon Brazill — The "best wide receiver you've never heard about" has about 50 people in the category, constantly cluttering any sense of what it means to be underrated. This doesn't make me better or worse than everyone else, but there's a sensible reason why a 2009 All-American punt returner didn't get much attention this year. Namely he was injured for much of 2010 and few remembered he was returning — even the EA Sports video game had omitted him. But he's a threat to not only return the punt for a huge gain, but also make a highlight-reel catch.

NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch — Once in a while they'll bring in the backup in certain sets when it's an obvious running situation. Yes, Harnish is also a running quarterback. No, I don't quite exactly understand this. Lynch has thrown a handful of passes this year (and one touchdown), but my best guess is Lynch gets playing time because Harnish is not going to be there forever (such as 2012) so to get Lynch game experience in red zone situations is always beneficial moving forward.

NIU defensive end Sean Progar — He has the NFL talent. He has the awards and the stats. His back-to-back sacks against EMU last week basically sealed the victory. But everybody's talking about Harnish. Progar, King Of The Forest, is the Harnish of the defense.

OHIO punter Paul Hershey — ALWAYS WATCH THE PUNTER. He has seven career rushes for 76 yards and while I don't suspect the NIU special teams to act lazy, Hershey is an athletic dude back there with the potential for a sudden run out of the backfield. Oh, and he's a good punter too.

OHIO running back Beau Blankenship — Yes, the backup guy. Donte Harden is a do-it-all person, but I'll get this out of the way in the event the announcers drive it into the ground: Blankenship was Tettleton's high school teammate who convinced him to transfer away from Iowa State. There's your backstory. But Blankenship is a hard runner who'll pop his head into the huddle on certain series. Also, he sounds like a TV neighbor from a 1950s sitcom. That's a plus.

NIU safety Jamaal Bass — Maybe this is a note to self. But Bass was famously suspended for running over a Toledo band member. The one-game suspension turned into three, which was a just penance, perhaps a bit much but reports are that he'll play, so he might be somebody to focus on ... or maybe OHIO will do just that, picking on the rusty freshman. Say, in a 4th and 20 situation.

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