Huskies Fall to Bowling Green in MAC Championship Game

GO HUSKIES Lynch combined for 345 total yards and three total touchdowns
GO HUSKIES
Lynch combined for 345 total yards and three total touchdowns
GO HUSKIES

Dec. 7, 2013

Final Stats |  Notes

DETROIT - The No. 14 Northern Illinois University Huskies saw their goal of a third consecutive Mid-American Conference Championship and dreams of a second BCS bid dashed at Ford Field Friday night, as the Bowling Green Falcons scored a decisive 47-27 win over NIU.

The loss ended the Huskies' school-record tying 12-game winning streak and 26-game Mid-American Conference winning streak, dating back to a 48-41 loss at Central Michigan on Oct. 1, 2011. NIU falls to 12-1 on the season, while Bowling Green improved to 10-3 overall.

The Falcons' No. 7-ranked defense bottled up the Huskie running game, holding NIU to just 235 yards on 40 attempts despite 126 yards by quarterback Jordan Lynch.  Meanwhile, BGSU quarterback Matt Johnson picked apart the NIU defense, completing 21-of-27 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns, a MAC Championship game record.

"We didn't play a good half of football," said NIU Head Coach Rod Carey.  "Give them all the credit in the world.  They made plays and we didn't.  We didn't have enough execution.  We dug ourselves too big a hole in the first half and in the second we have an opportunity to get it to a one-score game and couldn't do it."  

Lynch compiled 345 yards of total offense with 126 rushing and 219 passing yards, and broke the NIU records for touchdowns responsible for and touchdowns scored in a season, while tying the school mark for rushing scores.  He threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Juwan Brescacin for the Huskies' first score and ran for touchdowns of eight and two yards.  

The two teams traded touchdowns on their opening drives with the Falcons scoring on a 28-yard hook-up from Johnson to Tyler Beck, while the Lynch to Brescacin connection tied the game at seven with 9:08 to play in the first quarter.  

Bowling Green took a 17-7 lead at the end of the quarter as big plays continued to hurt the Huskies. Johnson hit Ronnie Moore for 61 yards, setting up a 26-yard field goal by Tyler Tate, and after NIU went three and out on its next possession, Bowling Green came back with a five-play, 76-yard touchdown drive with Moore scoring on a 36-yard catch.   

The Huskies cut the deficit to 17-13 after field goals of 51 and 45 yards by kicker Mathew Sims. It was as close as NIU would get.  Bowling Green scored a pair of touchdowns in the last six minutes of the half to take a 31-13 lead into halftime as Johnson connected with Heath Jackson on a 22-yard pass and hit tight end Alex Bayer from 12 yards out.  Bayer finished the game with seven catches for 124 yards for the Falcons while receiver Moore caught four passes for 145 yards and a score.  

Lynch and the Huskies narrowed the margin to 31-20 when the Huskies marched 64 yards on seven plays and 2:29 and scored on an eight-yard run.  Both kickers missed field goals in the third quarter before Tate hit a 54-yarder at the start of the fourth.  

NIU, traditionally a strong fourth-quarter team, found that Bowling Green was just as stout.  BG put two more touchdowns on the board in the quarter while the Huskies could manage just a late Lynch score to leave the final score at 47-27.  It was the most points given up by NIU since Central Michigan scored 48 on Oct. 1, 2011.   

Northern Illinois will now await its bowl destination.  The MAC is expected to announce all of its bowl tie-ins for 2013-14 this weekend.