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2013 MAC Championship: NIU vs. Bowling Green preview, TV time, odds and more

Here's everything you need to know to watch the MAC title game between the Falcons and Huskies.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Northern Illinois has made a habit out of trips to Detroit for the MAC title game -- this is the team's fourth consecutive appearance, a streak made a little more impressive by the fact that the Huskies did it despite two coaching changes. The Huskies haven't missed a beat under first-year coach Rod Carey, though it certainly didn't hurt to inherit all-everything quarterback Jordan Lynch.

Bowling Green is tasked with slowing down an NIU offense that's averaging 318.9 rushing yards per game. The Huskies average 6.7 yards per carry behind Lynch's stellar efforts; the NIU star is averaging 7.1 yards per carry and has twice gone over 300 yards on the ground in 2013. If the Falcons can't get NIU out of its comfort zone in this area, they're probably in trouble.

The numbers

Rankings and records: NIU is 12-0 (8-0), ranked 14th in the BCS standings, 16th in the AP Poll and 18th in the Coaches Poll. Unranked Bowling Green comes in at 9-3 (7-1). BGSU is 10-7 all-time against the Huskies.

Vegas: NIU opened as a 3-point favorite.

Weather: It'll be cold in Detroit, but that'll have no bearing on the game seeing as how they're playing in a dome.

Three names to know

Jordan Lynch -- Lynch set a record by rushing for 321 yards on Nov. 26, giving him 1,755 yards on the ground in 2013. He's also thrown for nearly 2,500 yards and has scored a total of 42 touchdowns.

Travis Greene -- Greene is Bowling Greene's leading rusher with 1,422 yards and 10 scores. That yardage total ranks second in the MAC, behind Lynch. He's run for at least 100 yards in each of his last four games.

Cameron Stingily -- The other key contributor to NIU's potent rushing attack is having a fine season of his own. He cracked the 1,000-yard mark in the Huskies' last game and has nine rushing TDs on the season.

Two things at stake

Thanks in part to an upset by San Jose State over Fresno State, Northern Illinois' BCS bowl prospects are looking better. The Huskies appear to be on their way to another BCS appearance, though of course they will have to take care of Bowling Green first. A win would give NIU its third consecutive MAC title.

Bowling Green doesn't have any lofty bowl stakes—in fact, it would probably go to the Bowl regardless of the outcome, with NIU headed to the BCS with a win—but especially considering the Falcons haven't won the MAC in more than 20 years, this game holds plenty of importance. A victory would secure the program's first 10-win season since 2003.

How to witness

TV: ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET

Radio: NIU's radio information is here. Bowling Green's affiliates are here.

Online streaming: WatchESPN

Further reading

For additional coverage, head over to MAC blog Hustle Belt and NIU blog Red And Black Attack.

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