Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 12/2/11

It was another Friday night game, so no one should be surprised the Mid-American Conference championship game delivered another crazy performance.

Trailing 20-0 at halftime and by 13 points with less than nine minutes to play, Northern Illinois scored 16 points to pull out the win in Detroit. Not until Matthew Sims hit a 33-yard field goal did NIU lead in this game, but that was enough for the championship.

The Huskies (10-3) were the more talented team, but Ohio (9-4) had the momentum and should have delivered Frank Solich the championship in the Bobcats third try.

Instead Ohio blew a golden opportunity.

With a chance to milk three to five minutes off the clock and up 20-7, Solich gambled and lost. Instead of sticking with his solid running game, he let Tyler Tettleton throw the ball deep. But Tettleton's pass came up a bit short and the pass was intercepted by Northern Illinois' Jimmie Ward.

 

That started the NIU come back.

Chandler Harnish, the MAC Offensive Player of the Year, responded. After struggling in the first half, he showed why he's considered one of the nation's best dual-threat quarterbacks.

Harnish looked frustrated for most of the first half, and appeared to be pressing. Actually, the entire NIU team was stressed.

The Huskies lost to Miami in last year's championship, and Dan Doeren's has been determined all season to get back to this game at Ford Field and win the school its first MAC championship.

Meanwhile, Ohio hasn't delivered a conference championship to rural Athens, Ohio, since 1968.

Throughout the first half, it looked like the Bobcats were not only going to win Friday night, but win easily. Ohio caught every break, and it seemed to capitalize each time.

Solich was also pulling out the trick plays, one of which resulted in a 24-yard touchdown pass from receiver Phil Bates to Donte Foster.

While the MAC is one of the lowest rungs of the FBS, this game was an entertaining watch. Harnish and Tettleton (the son of former major leaguer Mickey Tettleton) are both exciting quarterbacks.

The game was also chippy, especially on the Bobcats' side.

Both teams will play in bowl games, so if you missed this game you may want to check them out in their other postseason action.

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