Mac Championship has Miami (Ohio) over Northern Illinois with late touchdown


DETROIT–  It was for the Mid-American Championship and the winners chose to go to the Bowl on January 6, in Mobile, Alabama.  The new champions get to pick the MAC affiliated Bowl game that they want to attend.  Miami redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Boucher threw for a 33-yard touchdown pass to a wide open, Armand Robinson with only 33 seconds left on the clock.  It was the winning play as Miami (Ohio) upset the heavily favored Northern Illinois Huskies, 26-21.  The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit will play host to Toledo versus Florida International on December 26, at Ford Field.    

It was a back and forth game with great passing on both sides.  The late touchdown was set up by a fourth and 20 pass to Chris Givens.  The ball had been tipped and it was a great break for the RedHawks.  Before the touchdown, it was the must have play of the game.

After the game Givens said, “No doubt, things went our favor, but when you continue to work hard and believe, sometimes a little luck comes into play.  It was just crazy.”

Bouchard finished 29-46 for 333 yards and one TD passing for Miami.   Chandler Harnish was 15-28 for 281 yards and three TD’s passing for NIU.  It was only the third start for Boucher, who was substituting for the injured Zac Dysert.

In was only last week when Miami (9-4), upset another favorite in their convincing win over Temple 23-3.  That win got them into the MAC final.  Northern Illinois (10-3), had been ranked number 24 in the country.

          “What an unbelievable feeling,” said Miami’s Robinson.  “You’d never think something like this would happen.”

This was the 15th MAC title overall for the RedHawks and last year they finished 1-11.  Coach Michael Haywood was MAC Coach of the Year for the turnaround.




Brothers Jason and Justin Semmes from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s have contributed all season for Miami.  Jason has been a monster at defensive end and Justin is the starting fullback. 


Vince Helmuth of Saline and a transfer from the University of Michigan has rotated at fullback.  Helmuth had a devastating block to free Thomas Merriweather on the first play from scrimmage for a 47yard gain.  It set up Miami’s first touchdown.  Merriweather had two touchdowns and 85 yards on 11 carries.


Armand Robinson had 14 receptions for 176 yards and one TD for Miami.


Freshman kicker Mason Krysinski from Shelby Township is second on the depth chart for Miami.


NIU place-kicker Michael Clamovski an early graduate and transfer from Illinois is a graduate student at NIU Law.  He had three PAT’s.  


NIU running back Chad Span, was MAC offensive player of the year.  He had 17 rushes for 54 yards.


NIU had All-MAC First Team selections with Chad Harnish, Scott Wedge, Trevor Olson, Chad Span, Sean Progar and Chris Smith.  Second Team picks were Joe Pawlak and Jake Coffman.  Third Team choices were Jason Schepler, Landon Cox, Alex Kube, Devon Butler and Tommy Davis.


Miami had an All-MAC First Team selection with kicker Trevor Cook.  Second Team All-MAC picks were Zac Dysert, Brandon Brooks, Armand Robinson, Nick Harwell and Austin Brown.  Third Team selections were Bob Gulley and Zac Murphy.




Notre Dame considered the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl but opted out for the Sun Bowl on December 31, in El Paso, Texas.


Four Mid-American Conference teams will be playing in bowl games this year as invitations were extended to eligible teams.  Miami ( Bowl), Northern Illinois (uDrove Humanitarian Bowl), Toledo (Little Caesars Pizza Bowl) and Ohio (R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl) will represent the MAC in bowl games this season.  Temple at 8-4 got shut out.


Miami (Ohio) will play Middle Tennessee State in the Bowl in Mobile, Alabama on January 6.


Northern Illinois will take on Fresno State in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl on December 18, in Boise.


Also, on December 18, at the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Ohio will take on Troy State.


With no Big Ten left and eligible, Florida International will face Toledo on December 26, in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit.  It is the first Bowl game for FIU. 


Six Big East teams got Bowl bids including the University of Connecticut against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on January 1, in Tempe, Arizona.


 Jacek Urbanczyk contributed