We've become a bit accustomed to this one haven't we? For the third year in a row, the Northern Illinois Huskies Bowling Green Falcons, and throngs of their fans have converged upon Detroit for the reward of being named MAC Champion.
Two years ago BG surprised plenty of folks with Matt Johnson's incredible game before Dave Clawson went off to become a Demon Deacon. The 47-27 victory was the biggest win for the program in years, if not in Falcon history.
Last year's 51-17 NIU victory probably surprised, well...no one. Except for maybe just how much of a mauling it was.
This time around, Northern Illinois comes into the title game as the underdog for the first time in this matchup. Hard to believe for a program that is making its sixth straight appearance in this game. The Huskies come in with that proven record of success, and this year has been no different. An 8-4 record (6-2 in conference) is actually the worst mark that the Huskies have put together in the span of years that they have made the MAC championship.
NIU will almost certainly be reliant on its experienced o-line and running backs to carry the load. Guys like Aidan Conlin and Levon Myers have anchored the line while Joel Bouagnon and Jordan Huff have fueled the ground and pound attack that has piled up 2,559 yards this year. Without Drew Hare's legs, the Huskies made due pretty well with Ryan Graham. However, even he couldn't last, and after an injury at Ohio, here comes Freshman Tommy Fielder to try and win a conference championship in his first start ever.
Everyone knows the #FalconFast story. Dino Babers took his team to a MAC championship appearance last season despite a miserable 0-3 mark against MAC West team and a not so great defense. A year later, the offense is blowing people away as the Falcons have been able to blow by teams all year. A loss against Toledo showed some of the defensive issues that NIU could exploit, but then you'd have to doubt Matt Johnson's ability to outgun the Huskies.
Johnson, the MAC POTY, comes in commanding an offense that never scored less than 28 points in a game this season and reached 48+ six times. While Trenton Greene is trying to lead a defense that aims to shut down coach Rod Carey's vaunted rushing attack, his brother Travis will try to ignite the Falcon ground game that could be critical to a victory. Well, that is if the incredible fleet of receivers including Roger Lewis, Gehrig Dieter, Ronnie Moore and Ryan Burbrink doesn't run the Huskie defense out of Detroit.
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- In the Pick'em, Bowling Green has a 60-40 advantage in the overall percentages