Kent State came from way behind to tie the game...twice.
It was a stunning third and long touchdown conversion from Kent State that tied the game the second time. With his long, flowing locks, Tim Erjavec caught the touchdown while making two Northern Illinois defenders trip over each other.
The Huskies used four plays to advance 75 yards. Lynch trotted into the end zone to give his team the lead back.
The biggest play of the drive was his pass to Akeem Daniels for 43 yards. It was just a check down that ended up being a huge play. Daniels gathered 66 yards overall on the drive (two carries and one catch)
Remember all the things I mentioned that were left on the field in the first quarter?
The Huskies picked it all up and did not let Kent State have any.
The second quarter was all NIU, as the team from the west outscored their opponent 14-0 and took a seven point lead into halftime. Jordan Lynch, despite throwing an interception with five minutes to play in the half, was marvelous. He threw for a touchdown and has 58 rushing yards so far tonight.
Kent State offense has been non-existent. They only have 50 yards so far all together. And it appears likely that they will have to rely on the big play to score points.
Northern Illinois has not had to respect Kent's passing attack so far. Dechane Durante came up with the first interception of the game with a tremendous play where he jumped over two players and was able to get three feet in-bounds near the sideline.
Remember that great start by the Flashes? About 30 minutes ago? Yeah, those feelings are gone. Northern Illinois has controlled the last 20 minutes of the game, mostly with Jordan Lynch making plays on third and fourth down. After they iced their own field goal attempt, KSU has been bowled over so far.
As for the crowd, I wouldn't be surprised if they announced an attendance well north of 20,000. The NIU fans have been louder than anticipated on big plays. I can't see Kent State's crowd but their presence has been felt and as I walked to the stadium I saw nothing but gold shirts entering the place.
Halftime couldn't have arrived at a better time for the Golden Flashes. They're only down seven points. They're fully capable of adjusting and get back in the game. But first it might be useful to catch their breath, and get some darn blocking.
The Kent State Golden Flashes have not played in a MAC Championship game in a very long time, but they have the lead after after the first quarter.
Northern Illinois started this Marathon game much like they did the last one...Sloppy, slow and down by ten points. However a drive at the end of the quarter, including a Jordan Lynch scramble that converted a fourth and medium from Kent's 35, allowed them to bring the game back to one possession.
Kent State has honestly not put together a drive of their own. Good field position and big plays (yes, by Dri Archer) has the Golden Flashes in front.
On the second position of the game for Kent, Archer ran the ball fifteen yards on an end-around for the first score of the game. It came after a NIU muffed punt return.
So far this game has left much on the field, but has been intriguing to watch indeed.
The popular pick remains Northern Illinois over Kent State. But with the Huskies favored by a touchdown in Detroit, how many experts are taking the Golden Flashes? And who do I have winning? You're wondering what I'm thinking, most likely.
Bowls of oranges and sugar are permeating the dreams of Kent State and Northern Illinois. Awaiting them is a football game played in Detroit, quite a drive from their comfortable dwellings. How much will the 65,000-capacity Ford Field be filled?