Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/1/12
It may not be the SEC, but the MAC brings an exciting brand of football that will appeal to the casual fan. This year's incarnation of the MAC title game pitted regular contenders Northern Illinois against Kent State, who haven't seen postseason action in 40 years. The game looked like it was going to be all NIU until the Golden Flashes finally woke up in the fourth quarter and pushed the Huskies all the way to the second overtime before succumbing 44-37. Here are five random thoughts regarding today's game: 1. Jordan Lynch is awesome!For those who haven't read my preview, I may have mentioned something about Lynch being the best player outside the BCS, and I would like to extend my utmost gratitude as he proved me right. While Kent State's tough defense limited his passing to 212 yards, 1 TD and a rare interception on 19 of 34 passing, they had no answer to his running skills as he amassed 160 yards and 3 scores (including the OT winner) on 36 carries. He now holds the NCAA record for rushing by a QB with 1771 yards, breaking Denard Robinson's record set in 2010.2. Yeah, he's awesome, but this one's on the defense.Sorry man, but it was your defense that really won the game. Most of Kent State's regulation time points came off Husky Miscues, with a muffed punt, a shanked punt and a short kickoff setting up short fields for the Flashes, while Zack Hitchens recovered a fumbled handoff and ran it back 22 yards for another score. Cut out the mistakes, and NIU cut out Kent State. KSU only managed 260 total yards, including 70 rushing, while speedy Dri Archer scored on a 15-yard run early in the game, but totalled 0 (zero) yards on the ground after that. Forcing Kent State to throw the ball also took QB Spencer Keith out of his comfort zone - he threw 2 picks, including the clincher in the endzone in OT. The Husky coaching staff should be commended for their excellent gameplan.3. It ain't over until it's over.Kent State may have taken an early 10-0 lead, but after that it was all NIU, as they outscored the Flashes 27-3 to to take a 27-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter. A Ryan Neir punt left Kent State marooned on their 4-yard line, and their chances looked bleak. But, when your front-line troops are struggling, it's time to call on the Archers. One 60-yard pass to Dri later, and Keith's 5-yard TD run had the Flashes back in it. Fifteen seconds later, Akeem Daniels and Lynch's joint brain-freeze set up Hitchens' fumble return. Game on!4.  Oh yeah, about that Daniels' guy.After playing second-fiddle for most of his career, Daniels got the chance to strut his stuff in the final game of the regular season and tallied 112 yards and 4 TDs on 12 carries, prompting yours truly to predict he'd be a factor tonight too. Luckily, he made me look smart by providing a nice foil for Lynch in rushing for 128 yards and a TD on 17 carries. When he wasn't running the ball or playing decoy, he was catching the passes, tying for the team lead with 4 receptions and a team-leading 67 yards. Nice!5. Northern Illinois are going to a BCS bowl and they're going to look good.Coming into the game, Kent State were ranked no.17 in the polls, and the Huskies, for some strange reason, were a bit behind at 21. Still, the teams in front, including the Flashes, are in danger of losing (UCLA already has) and it's not inconceivable NIU will make the cut at 16. Once there, their amazingly prolific offense, which has had only had less than 415 yards once this season, will give nightmares to whatever defense it faces. Hopefully the BCS will do the right thing before it crawls back under whatever slimy rock it came from.
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