DETROIT– Northern Illinois pulled away in the second half to take a 51-17 win over Bowling Green State University in the 2014 Marathon Mid-American Conference Championship football game at Ford Field. This was the fifth straight MAC championship game for NIU.
This year’s MAC championship game was a rematch of last season’s title match, when BGSU bested 14th ranked NIU, 47-27.
The glowing standout stats for NIU were 552 total yards, converting 10 of 19 third down attempts for first downs and forcing four turnovers by Bowling Green. The Falcons didn’t have the dominant defense that last season’s squad demonstrated.
The spectacular offensive highlight for BGSU was the 42 yard acrobatic catch by sophomore Gehrig Dieter from sophomore quarterback James Knapke with 9:33 left in the second quarter.
With the score 10-7, NIU started to pad its lead with the steady play of sophomore quarterback Drew Hare. Hare ended up passing for 218 yards on 29-49, with two TD’s and one interception.
The Huskies ran for 334 yards on 51 carries with four rushing scores. Senior running back Cameron Stingily added 116 rushing yards for NIU on 15 attempts and two TD’s. He had a long of 43 yards. Another senior, Akeem Daniels, gained 76 yards on 12 carries.
After the game, NIU Head Coach Rod Carey said, “This was our best game at the right time. These kids set out what they wanted to do back in January and it’s because of their hard work that we’re here. You don’t get here without hard work.”
Post season awards included P.J. Fleck of Western Michigan as being named Coach-of-the Year in the MAC.
The MAC has six teams Bowl eligible: Northern Illinois (11-2), Bowling Green (7-6), Toledo (8-4), Western Michigan (8-4), Central Michigan (7-5), and Ohio (8-6). The Bowl pairing will be announced Sunday evening on television.
Recently, the Mid-American Conference announced in conjunction with Detroit Lions and Ford Field President, Tom Lewand, that the MAC has secured a four-year contract extension to host its Marathon MAC Football Championship Game in Detroit through the 2019 football season.
“We are pleased to extend our relationship with Ford Field for another four years,” said MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher. Ford Field and the city of Detroit have been outstanding partners in hosting our football championship game. The facility is among the best in the country and provides our student-athletes and fans with a premiere championship experience.”