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Northern Illinois-Kent State: Rematch, same result

The 2012 MAC Championship Game redux didn't change the outcome.

Don't forget about Jimmie Ward, folks.
Don't forget about Jimmie Ward, folks.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports




No, I didn't get to watch this game. Perhaps it's a karmic balance for getting to witness in person one of the greatest MAC football games in history. But ESPN3 blacked out the game in Ohio, and I didn't have Time Warner Cable. But that's what's cool about the Internet: you can still find out about these games and see moving pictures of the game. Such as, oh I don't know, Dri Archer's kickoff return touchdown:

And hey, all things fair, here's Jordan Lynch to Da'Ron Brown:

In similar vein to the 2012 MACCG, Kent State made it as good a game as they could. The game featured two ties and two lead changes, with the Flashes' last advantage coming in the third quarter, 24-21. Jordan Lynch was fine, yes, but he didn't need to be the unilateral conqueror we've come to known him as. Starting with: Cameron Stingily was put to work in the backfield, running it 37 times for 266 yards. Jimmie Ward had a fumble recovery and an interception, desperately trying to remind the territory that defensive side is also not without its stars.

And of course, the offensive line: Tyler Loos, Aidan Conlon, Andrew Ness, Jared Volk and Ryan Brown allowed zero sacks and four negative rushing plays. Yes, Ball State is mowing down BCS teams at a feverish pace, but NIU — whose greatness we still sometimes overlook — remains the king until someone beats them in the conference, which hasn't happened in 18 games. Their last MAC loss was to October 1, 2011. (Central Michigan!)

On the Kent State side, the excitement Archer provides all over the field just cannot be enough to be on top of this conference. He's not the only productive player on the game, mind you. The offensive line also limited sacks and negative plays, and Luke Wollet came up with a big interception. But the defense was hamstrung on third down (NIU was 10-of-17) and Colin Reardon, while passable, wasn't totally accurate (46 percent completions). You can't predict sports, but we all kind of figured Kent State would not replicate last year's 11-3 season, and they are already 2-4. C'est la vie.

But the real boner in this Kent State program was scheduling Northern Illinois for your homecoming game. I mean, honestly.