It will all be to play for when the Kent State Golden Flashes (7-5, 5-3 MAC) and Northern Illinois Huskies (8-4, 6-2 MAC) meet up at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, to compete for the 25th edition of the Mid-American Conference Football Championship Game.
Kent State, the MAC East divisional champion, comes into matchup fresh off a wild game at home against Miami, where they had to hold off a RedHawks rally in overtime in order to clinch the division in a de facto title game to secure their ticket to Detroit. It’s their second appearance, and their first since 2012.
The Flashes have arrived in the title game courtesy of one of the most dynamic offenses in the MAC, a self-described #FlashFast offense which has proven capable of playing to any situation throughout the season, with the balanced unit led by first-team all-MAC Dustin Crum at QB. The offense features three runners who all offer different roles for the offense, including Xavier Williams, Marquez Cooper and Bryan Bradford. while WR Dante Cephas is one of just three 1,000-yard receivers in the MAC, and leads a versatile downfield attack which also features Syracuse transfer Nykeim Johnson and Keshuun Abram.
Northern Illinois, the MAC West divisional champion, has certainly been in this situation before, with the team’s last appearance in 2018. NIU is a familiar name to any outside fan, as their title game exploits and success have put them in the hearts and minds of college football fans around the country. This will be the team’s ninth appearance in the title game, with a 4-4 record to this point.
This year’s NIU team is marked by an ability to win games by whatever means possible, with seven of their eight games having been decided by one score or less. They’re a team which depends on the running attack offensively, with MAC Freshman of the Year HB Jay Ducker, hybrid FB/HB Clint Ratkovich and home run hitter Antario Brown leading a hydra at the position. Rocky Lombardi, the Michigan State transfer QB, has really improved over the season and gives NIU a threat downfield in the passing game, throwing the ball towards the dangerous pair Trayvon Rudolph and Tyrice Richie (who will be questionable after missing last week’s game.)
You can catch our full game preview right here at this handy link!
It’s safe to say there will be a lot of intrigue going into today’s matchup, so you won’t want to miss this one. Here’s the media info you’ll need to be able to watch, stream, listen and inform yourself on the last league game of #MACtion:
How to watch/stream/listen:
- TV options: The game is to be televised on ESPN. A valid cable subscription is required. The broadcast team will include Jason Benetti (play-by-play), Andre Ware (color) and Paul Carceterra (sideline).
- Streaming options: The game will be streamed exclusively on the ESPN App. A valid cable subscription is required for access.
- Kent State radio perspective: KSU football is streamed exclusively on the TuneIn Radio app, which can be found here. Rob Polinsky (play-by-play) and Tom Evans (color) are on the call.
- Northern Illinois radio perspective: NIU football’s flagship station is WLBK 1360AM, and can be found here. Bill Baker (play-by-play) and Mark Lindo (color) are on the call, with Andy Garcia providing sideline coverage.
- Live stats presentation: The MAC will be keeping up a live stats page for the title game, courtesy of Sidearm Sports. The page will go live at kickoff.
- MAC Media Guide: The MAC has provided a media guide both for today’s title game and as a retrospective for the 2021 season, which can be accessed here.
- Kent State Game Notes: KSU’s depth charts and 2021 season information can be found here.
- Northern Illinois Game Notes: NIU’s depth charts and 2021 season information can be found here.
We will also conduct three Twitter Spaces on the day of the contest, with an 11:30 a.m. Eastern time pre-game show, a halftime check-in and a post-game recap over on our Twitter account @HustleBelt!
We invite you to join us to listen in and ask some questions.