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Ten Years of the MAC Championship Game at Ford Field

Reliving the glory years of CMU Dan LeFevour.

Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

The MAC Championship game wasn't a thing until 1997, first hosted by Marshall. Campus sites use to host these things until somebody had the bright idea to just have this game at Ford Field. We've seen ten of them, so let's do a quick rewind of these games.

2013: Bowling Green beats #16 Northern Illinois 47-27

MVP: BGSU QB Matt Johnson (21-for-27, 393 passing yards, 5 TD)

Northern Illinois just came off of an Orange Bowl-losing year, and being BCS-busters for another year was the ideal situation for Huskie fans. Hell, fans that just like MAC representation were pulling for NIU in this one. But Jordan Lynch, who was a Heisman trophy finalist, just did not have the performance that many had hoped for, while Matt Johnson stole the show throwing five touchdown passes. Bowling Green's defense was just too damn good as they have been all season long, but Lynch was able to break the NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a season.

2012: #19 Northern Illinois beats #18 Kent State (2OT) 44-37

MVP: NIU QB Jordan Lynch (19-for-34, 212 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 36 rush, 160 yards, 3 TD)

There was no way you couldn't be excited about either of the offenses. Jordan Lynch is making a huge name for himself and holy shit Dri Archer is fast. If just enough dominos fall in the right direction, somebody just might make it to a BCS bowl game. Archer only ran for 15 yards off of 12 carries, but was still effective on offense with 81 receiving yards and a rushing score.

Both teams hit a field goal in the first overtime, then Lynch's 2-yard rushing score in the second overtime put the Huskies ahead and Spencer Keith's interception on a their rebuttal drive sealed the deal.

2011: Northern Illinois beats Ohio 23-20

MVP: NIU WR Nathan Palmer (4 receptions, 115 yards, 2 TD)

The Huskies started their season off 2-3 after losses to Kansas, eighth-ranked Wisconsin and Central Michigan before winning out the rest of the way. At halftime, Ohio was leading 20-0, which is good enough to put away any team, just as long as the other team doesn't have Chandler Harnish and Nathan Palmer in the second half.

Ohio would go on to the Idaho Potato bowl and beat Utah State 24-23, their first-ever bowl win.

2010: Miami beats #24 Northern Illinois 26-21

MVP: MU RB Thomas Merriweather (11 rush, 85 yards, 2 TD)

Over the summer, we did this series called "Painful MAC Memories." One memory shared by Dave Drury was about this game. You'll want to read his side of the story for this one.

2009: Central Michigan beats Ohio 20-10

MVP: CMU QB Dan LeFevour (28-for-39, 255 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 17 rush, 51 yards)

My first impression on Dan LeFevour was in the 2006 Motor City Bowl. The dumb, high school, pre-EMU version of me was in the love with this guy. I still like LeFevour, actually. Spite his faults, he was a great quarterback for CMU. The Chippewas were a 13-point favorite over Ohio, who hasn't won a MAC Championship since 1968.

Antonio Brown, now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, had eight catches for 66 yards to help the Chippewas win their third MAC title in four seasons.

2008: Buffalo beats #12 Ball State 42-24

MVP: UB DB Mike Newton (9 tackles, 8 solo, 2 for loss, 1 pass deflection, 1 fumble recovery, 1 TD)

Led by quarterback Nate Davis (coached by Brady Hoke lol), the Cardinals came into Detroit after finishing with a perfect 12-0 season, a ranked team since early October. He threw for 351 passing yards with a score and an interception against the Bulls, but the chemistry between Buffalo's Drew Willy and Naaman Roosevelt was too good. Those two hooked up 10 times for 166 yards and three touchdowns.

But Mike Newton ran away with the MVP trophy, just not before he ran away with this 92-yard fumble recovery:

Former Bulls DB Mike Newton Signed by Indianapolis Colts

2007: Central Michigan Beats Miami 35-10

MVP: CMU QB Dan LeFevour (24-for-34, 185 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 20 rush, 170 yards, 2 TD)

LeFevour accounted for 255 total yards with three touchdowns with a very balanced game through both the air and on the ground, but Ontario Sneed also helped out with CMU's ground game, accounting for only 67 yards, but got into the end zone a couple of times. Chaz West and Eric Fraser had big days on defense, recording 10 tackles and an interception each.

Oh, also, J.J. Watt caught one pass for nine yards.

2006: Central Michigan beats Ohio 31-10

MVP: CMU WR Damien Linson (7 receptions, 191 yards, 1 TD)

Before we had Titus Davis and Cody Wilson and Antonio Brown, there was a Damien Linson. LeFevour, a freshman, made a name for himself right away, lighting things up by throwing to Linson and Bryan Anderson. Sometimes, Linson would do this thing where he has a box score of seven catches, 191 yards and a touchdown.

LeFevour, a freshman, completed over 70 percent of his passes for 255 yards, two touchdowns and a pick.

2005: Akron beats Northern Illinois 31-30

MVP: UA  QB Luke Getsy (30-for-50, 413 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT)



Led the MAC in completions and passing yards, Getsy is pretty much what a lot of people thought Kyle Pohl was going to be this year. His best target all season was Domenik Hixon, who caught eight passes for 144 yards and a touchdown against the Huskies. That touchdown came with ten seconds left in the game.

Northern Illinois did not go bowling that year.

2004: Toledo beats Miami 35-27

MVP: UT QB Bruce Gradkowski (18-for-24, 251 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT)

This was the first MAC Championship game at Ford Field. At this time, you just realized that it's been 10 years since Toledo has been to a MAC Championship game, let alone win it. This was also the same time when Marshall and Central Florida were MAC teams. I like to think that I'm digging up fossils here.

Gradkowski and Omar Jacobs (BGSU quarterback) were having excellent seasons, ending the regular season with a 49-41 rivalry shootout with Toledo winning, giving them the ticket to go to Detroit. Josh Betts for the RedHawks threw for well over 3,000 yards, holding his own in the East.

Turnovers were the name of the game in this one. Betts threw an interception early in the 3rd quarter, which Gadkowski easily capitalized on a 44-yard drive, then threw another one on the very next drive to Keon Jackson, returning it for a 31-yard score.