The Northern Illinois Huskies and Bowling Green Falcons meet in the MAC Championship game for the second year in a row Friday night in Detroit. Last year, the unranked Falcons shocked No. 16 NIU, 47-27, and stifled Heisman trophy contender Jordan Lynch.
This year the characters are different, but the story remains the same: winner takes home the MAC title and bragging rights for a full year. Led by first-year head coach Dino Babers, the Falcons are looking to defend their title in a showdown with Rod Carey's Huskies.
Bowling Green is coming into the game on a two-game losing streak, but with the conference title on the line they should have no trouble getting up for the game. NIU has won six straight since their loss to Central Michigan in October and will be looking to steamroll their way to the MAC crown.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game time: 7 p.m. ET
Online streaming: Watch ESPN
Rankings and records: Both Bowling Green and Northern Illinois are unranked in the national polls. Bowling Green is 7-5 overall and 5-3 in the MAC East. Northern Illinois is 10-2 overall and 7-1 in the MAC West.
Weather forecast: The game will take place in a dome, but for those tailgating Friday afternoon the weather is expected to be 41 degrees and partly cloudy.
Two things at stake
There is one really big thing at stake here: the MAC Championship. And if NIU wins, there's an outside shot at a New Year's bowl, if Boise State were to lose on Saturday.
The other thing at stake here is revenge for Northern Illinois after BGSU beat them last year in Detroit.
One big matchup
Drew Hare vs. Bowling Green's defense: To describe Bowling Green's defense as sieve-like is an insult to hard working sieves in kitchens everywhere. The Falcons are 12th in the conference, and 118th in the country, in total yards given up. On average, they surrender 494.8 yards per game to their opponents and Hare is licking his chops just reading this sentence.
Despite all of the yards given up, BGSU is first in the conference in turnovers forced per game, averaging a robust 2.3 (good for top-20 in the country). Hare has only thrown one interception this year on 250 attempts and is also a threat on the ground. We know that he will get yards in bunches, but the only way he leads NIU to the win is if he continues his impeccable ball control against an opportunistic Falcon defense.
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