It appears as though Miami of Ohio, winners of only one game a year ago, is back. On Friday night, the RedHawks overcame a number of mistakes to engineer a miraculous drive against Northern Illinois and win the MAC championship.
Miami quarterback Austin Boucher, who was a backup only weeks ago, completed 29 of 46 passes for 333 yards. However, it's unclear how much credit he deserves for his biggest pass of the game. Within the final two minutes, Miami was down, 21-20. After Boucher was sacked to give them a fourth-and-20 situation, Boucher's throw bounced off a Northern Illinois defender's hands, and Chris Givens was there to make the grab and secure the first down.
Boucher then connected with Armand Robinson, who had a monster night with 176 yards receiving, for the game-winning touchdown with 33 seconds left. Upon taking possession, Northern Illinois threatened to answer back with a score of their own in the final seconds, and after a string of quick completions, quarterback Chandler Harnish snapped the ball in Miami territory. With five seconds left, though, he was forced out of the pocket and didn't even get off the pass before taking the game-ending sack.
This is a huge achievement for the RedHawks, as well as coach Michael Haywood, who in two seasons has changed Miami from a 1-11 team into a conference champion.