The #14 Northern Illinois Huskies finally lost last night.
Knocking on the door of a second straight BCS bowl game, the Bowling Green Falcons (10-3, 7-1 Mid-American Conference) took complete control of the game from the get-go. Outplayed and outlasted, the Huskies (12-1, 8-1 MAC), who many inked in as the early-season favorites to win the MAC at the start of the year, lost to the Falcons 47-27 in front of 21,106 people at Ford Field. This snapped NIU's streak of 25 straight wins over in-conference opponents. October 1, 2011 was the last MAC loss for the Huskies, falling short to Central Michigan 48-41.
With all of the hype surrounding Jordan Lynch, Matt Johnson put together a great game against the Huskies.
"There was a lot of talk about (Jordan) Lynch being up for the Heisman," Matt Johnson said. "It's well deserved, he's a great player, but I did take it a little personal."
Completing 21 out of his 27 attempted passes, Johnson threw for 393 yards and five touchdowns. His five touchdowns are a new MAC Championship game record passing the old record of 4 (Bruce Gradkowski for Toledo in '04, Byron Leftwich for Marshall in '01 and '02, and Ben Roethlisberger for Miami in '03). His 393 passing yards are also a new single-game best for him, passing his own record of 357 yards in his first start against Kent State in early September. He was 47 yards short of tying the MAC Championship game record of 440 yards thrown by Roethlisberger in '03.
Johnson, spread the ball around very nicely, too. Robbie Moore had all of his receiving stats in an explosive first quarter with four catches for 145 yards and a touchdown. Johnson's other four touchdown passes were to Alex Bayer (7 catches, 124 yards), Heath Jackson (6, 58), Tyler Beck (1, 28) and Travis Greene (2, 23).
By comparison, Lynch was 21-for-40 through the air for 219 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. The second interception was early in the fourth quarter by Aaron Foster, which later resulted in a Falcon touchdown. "[I had] two turnovers, that's unacceptable," Lynch said. "I expect a lot of myself and I didn't live up to the expectations."
The Heisman hopeful was the team's leading rusher with 126 yards off of 26 carries with a pair of scores. Holding the record of most rushing yards by an FBS quarterback in a with 1,815 yards in 2012, Lynch broke his own record with a new total of 1,881 yards.
"They had a good game plan coming in," Lynch said. "They were fast, they were physical, they had a few turnovers... Their defense wanted it and they did a good job."
NIU was held to 8 of 15 on third down conversions, averaging 5.54 yards per play (82 plays, 454 yards) and having a 25:34 time of possession. BGSU was 4 for 10 on third downs with 8.57 yards per play (67, 574), having the ball for 34:26.
This is BGSU's first MAC Championship victory since 1992, and head coach Dave Clawson isn't surprised. "We would've absolutely crushed if we didn't win this game," Clawson said. "We came into this game truly believing we were the better team and that we were going to win."
That they were, and that they did. So "Ay Ziggy Zoomba" and "Roll Along" to the 2013 Falcons football team.
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