Northern Illinois Edges Toledo 31-24

The win gives NIU their third straight MAC West title over the Rockets, and Jordan Lynch's performance lived up to all the promise and expectations.

We all saw the game on the calendar and knew it would decide the MAC West back in, say, April. The amount of points weren't there but the excitement was. As was Jordan Lynch's insane numbers: 25-for-36, 407 yards, three touchdowns, an interception, and 30 carries for 162 yards — including tough runs to salt away the last six minutes. (Should of onside kicked.) We put the Lynch Hype Machine into full operation this afternoon, and it delivered everything you could have dreamed.

Defensively both teams actually played rather well. Well, obviously better than 63-60, but this was a game much more manageable to coach and to watch. Big plays existed but acted as such; not as equalizers to the previous 70-yard run.

Toledo didn't do terribly, but they evidently mis-executed. One trick play thrown by Dwight Macon landed right in between two receivers in the end zone. That could've been points. A fourth down pitch to David Fluellen probably should've been run another way. They clearly didn't make their own momentum and Lynch sure as heck wasn't going to give it to them — even though Tommylee Lewis gave them a free fumble, which turned out to be too little too late.

NIU plays either Kent State or Bowling Green, depending on the outcome of Saturday's matchup between them. But next week they do finish the season with Eastern Michigan, now a tune-up game. Toledo will host Akron.

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