MAC Football Media Day Notes

Updated 7/23/2013

2013 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game

The Mid-American Conference (MAC) annual Marathon MAC Football Championship Game at Ford Field and Marathon as the title sponsor will continue through the 2015 college football season.  The 2013 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game will be Friday, Dec. 6 at 8:00 pm ET on ESPN2. The Marathon MAC Football Championship Game is the second-longest running college football conference championship game in the nation. In addition, with Ford Field as the host, this also makes the Marathon MAC Football Championship Game the second-longest consecutive venue outside of the SEC’s title game from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.  Marathon began as title sponsor of the Marathon MAC Football Championship Game in 2003 when No. 14 ranked Miami, led by Ben Roethlisberger, defeated No. 20 ranked Bowling Green, 49-27.
 
PRESEASON WATCH LISTS:
Bednarik Award (Top Defensive Player) – LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo; DT Roosevelt Nix, Kent State.
Biletnikoff Award (Top Wide Receiver) – WR Titus Davis, Central Michigan; WR Alex Neutz, Buffalo; WR Bernard Reedy, Toledo; WR Alonzo Russell, Toledo; WR Willie Snead, Ball State.
Butkus Award (Top Linebacker) - LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo.
Walter Camp Award (Best College Football Player) – RB/WR Dri Archer, Kent State; RB David Fluellen, Toledo; QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois; QB Tyler Tettleton, Ohio.
Lou Groza Award (Best College Place Kicker) – PK Jeremiah Detmer, Toledo; PK Dylan Mulder, Eastern Michigan; PK Kaleb Patterson, Miami; PK Mathew Sims, Northern Illinois.
Ray Guy Award (Best College Punter) – P Anthony Melchiori, Kent State; P Colter Johnson, UMass.
Paul Hornung Award (Most Versatile Player) – RB/WR Dri Archer, Kent State; QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois; WR/KR Tommylee Lewis, Northern Illinois; WR/KR Bernard Reedy, Toledo; DB BooBoo Gates, Bowling Green; WR/KR Jamill Smith, Ball State.
John Mackey Award (Outstanding Tight End) – TE Alex Bayer, Bowling Green; TE Zane Fakes, Ball State.
Maxwell Award (Outstanding College Football Player) – QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois; RB/WR Dri Archer, Kent State; RB Beau Blankenship, Ohio; RB David Fluellen, Toledo; RB Branden Oliver, Buffalo; RB Zurlon Tipton, Central Michigan; QB Keith Wenning, Ball State.
Manning Award (Top American Quarterback) – TBA (Aug. 1)
Bronko Nagurski Trophy (Best Defensive Player) – LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo; DT Roosevelt Nix, Kent State.
Davey O’Brien Award (Top Quarterback) – QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois; QB Tyler Tettleton, Ohio; QB Keith Wenning, Ball State.
Outland Trophy (Best Interior Lineman) – OL Anthony Dima, UMass; OL Zac Kerin, Toledo; DT Roosevelt Nix, Kent State.
Rotary Lombardi Trophy (Down Linemen) – OL Dominic Flewellyn, Bowling Green; OL Zac Kerin, Toledo; LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo; LB Gabe Martin, Bowling Green; DL Jonathan Newsome, Ball State; DL Roosevelt Nix, Kent State.
Rimington Trophy (Best Center) – C David Kekuewa, Bowling Green; C Zac Kerin, Toledo.
Jim Thorpe Award (Best Defensive Back) – DB Najja Johnson, Buffalo; DB Dayonne Nunley, Miami; DB Jimmie Ward,
Northern Illinois.
Doak Walker Award (Top Running Back) – RB Dri Archer, Kent State; Beau Blankenship, RB Trayion Durham, Kent
State; Ohio; RB Jahwan Edwards, Ball State; RB David Fluellen, Toledo; RB Branden Oliver, Buffalo; RB Zurlon Tipton, Central Michigan.
 
MAC BOWL SYNOPSIS
The MAC will have seven bowl relationships--three primary and four secondary for the 2013 college football season. The three primary agreements are with the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl (Detroit, Mich.), GoDaddy Bowl (Mobile, Ala.) and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, Ida.). In addition, the MAC has secured multiple-secondary agreements with the BBVA Compass Bowl, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, the Beef O’Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl and the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
 
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl will own the MAC’s No. 1 selection for the 2013 football season and Go Daddy Bowl will have the No. 2 selection, while the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will own the MAC’s No. 3 selection of bowl eligible teams in 2013.
 
NORTHERN ILLINOIS BUSTS THE BCS IN 2012
Northern Illinois became the first MAC program to receive an invitation to a BCS Bowl game as the Huskies suffered a 31-10 loss to Florida State in the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 1, 2013.  The 2013 Discover Orange bowl between Northern Illinois and Florida State was successful from a competitive, ratings and attendance perspective. The Huskies trailed the Seminoles 17-10 entering the fourth quarter and the 31-10 final was the closest Discover Orange Bowl in three years. The game had over 10.5 million viewers and a 7.1 rating as viewership was up 47% and ratings 34% from the previous year. Also, the attendance for the Discover Orange Bowl was 72,023, the largest crowd since 2009.
 
The Huskies earned the program’s second consecutive MAC Championship with a thrilling 44-37 double overtime win over Kent State in the Marathon MAC Championship Game and entered bowl selection Sunday with a BCS No. 15 ranking – higher than two AQ conferences--Big Ten (No. 16 Nebraska) and Big East (No. 21 Louisville). At the end of the 2012 bowl season, Northern Illinois was ranked No. 22 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, No. 24 in USA Today Poll.
 
MAC BOWL NOTES
• Seven MAC programs played in bowl games last season—Northern Illinois (Discover Orange Bowl), Kent State (Go- Daddy.com Bowl), Ball State (Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl), Toledo (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl), Ohio (Advocare V100 Independence Bowl), Bowling Green (Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman), and Central Michigan (Little Caesars Pizza Bowl).
• The seven bowl invitations set a conference record for bowl invitations in a single season. The previous high for the MAC was five bowl invitations on four separate occasions (2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011).
• The MAC has received five or more bowl invitations in four of the last five seasons. In addition, the MAC has sent four or more schools to bowl games in seven of the last nine years.
• For the first time in MAC history a member played in one of the five prestigious BCS Bowl games as MAC Champion Northern Illinois lost 31-10 to Florida State in the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 1 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
• The MAC tied the Big Ten for the fourth most teams in bowl games last season. Only the SEC (9), Big 12 (9) and Pac 12 (8) had more teams receive bowl invitations in 2012-13.
• The MAC finished the bowl season with a 2-5 bowl record. Ohio (AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl) and Central Michigan (Little Caesars Pizza Bowl) provided the MAC with wins last bowl season.
• Six teams from the MAC had eight wins or more in 2012 for the first time in MAC history (Northern Illinois 12-2, Kent State 11-3, Ball State 9-4, Toledo 9-4, Ohio 9-4 and Bowling Green 8-5) with a combined 58-22 (.725) record.
• 2012 was a banner season for the conference as the MAC witnessed its first BCS Bowl invitation with Northern Illinois and throughout the season, four different MAC programs were ranked nationally –either in the BCS Standings, Associated Press Top 25 Poll or USA Today Coaches Poll – Northern Illinois, Kent State, Toledo and Ohio.
• The MAC won a conference record 16 regular season games against non-conference FBS programs last season – including eight wins against AQ programs – Penn State, Iowa and Indiana from the Big Ten; Cincinnati, Rutgers, South Florida and UConn from the Big East; and Kansas from the Big 12.
 
2012-13 BOWL RESULTS
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Dec. 15, Boise, Ida.) Utah State 41 (WAC), Toledo 15
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl (Dec. 21, St. Petersburg, Fla.) Central Florida 38 (Conf. USA), Ball State 17
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Dec. 26, Detroit, Mich.) Central Michigan 24, W. Kentucky 21 (Sun Belt)
Military Bowl (Dec. 27, Washington, DC) San Jose State 29 (WAC), Bowling Green 20
Advocare V100 Independence Bowl (Dec. 28, Shreveport, La.) Ohio 45, La.-Monroe 14 (Sun Belt)
Discover Orange Bowl (Jan. 1, Miami Gardens, Fla.) Florida State 31 (ACC), Northern Illinois 10
GoDaddy.com Bowl (Jan. 6, Mobile, Ala.) Arkansas State 17 (Sun Belt), Kent State 13
 
MAC PROGRAMS IN BOWL GAMES
In the last four bowl seasons, ten different MAC programs have received a bowl invitation, as both Northern Illinois and Ohio lead the pack with invites in each of the last four consecutive years. Toledo (2010, 2011, 2012) received three invitations, while Bowling Green (2009, 2012), Central Michigan (2009, 2012) and former MAC-member Temple (2009, 2011) received two invitations. Ball State (2012), Kent State (2012), Miami (2010) and Western Michigan (2011) each received one invite in that span.
 
THREE NEW HEAD COACHES JOIN THE MAC IN 2013
The 2013 football season will bring the transition of three new head coaches into the conference. Northern Illinois elevated offensive coordinator Rod Carey to head coach, while Kent State named Arkansas defensive coordinator and Golden Flashes alum, Paul Haynes, to the top post. Western Michigan named Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers coach P.J. Fleck to lead the Broncos football program.
 
Paul Haynes, Kent State: Haynes was named Kent State head coach on Dec. 18, 2012 as the programs 21st head football coach. Haynes, 43, spent last season as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Arkansas. Haynes spent the previous seven seasons at Ohio State (2005-11), as co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach in 2011 and defensive back coach from 2005-10. Haynes also served at Kent State in 1999 as defensive backs and was promoted to assistant head coach and safeties coach in 2000 under then head coach Dean Pees. Haynes walked on at Kent State in 1987 and played four seasons for the Golden Flashes (1987-91) and ended his career with 440 tackles, seventh-best in school history.
 
Rod Carey, Northern Illinois: Carey was named Northern Illinois head coach on Dec. 2, 2012 as the program’s 22nd head football coach, two days after Dave Doeren left the Huskies for North Carolina State. Carey was promoted from offensive coordinator and coached the Huskies in the Discover Orange Bowl. In his second season at Northern Illinois, Carey began 2012 as offensive line coach and assumed offensive coordinator duties after the first game of the year when Mike Dunbar left the team for health reasons. Carey joined the Huskies after three seasons as offensive line coach at North Dakota (2008-10) and one year at Illinois State (2007). Carey served six years as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Wisconsin-Stout (2000-06).
 
P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan: Fleck was named Western Michigan head coach on Dec. 18, 2012 as the programs 15th head football coach. Fleck joins the Broncos after serving as wide receivers coach last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a graduate assistant at Ohio State (2006), coached three seasons at Northern Illinois (2007-09) as wide receivers coach then joined Rutgers as wide receivers coach for two seasons (2010-11). Fleck played wide receiver at Northern Illinois (1999-2003) and ranks third in career receptions (179) and fourth in career receiving yards (2,162) in school history. Fleck signed as a rookie free agent with San Francisco and spent two years with the 49ers (2004-05).
 
WESTERN MICHIGAN HEAD COACH P.J. FLECK YOUNGEST IN COUNTRY
P.J. Fleck, 32, is the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I (FBS), taking over the youngest spot over Toledo’s Matt Campbell, 33, and Texas Tech’s Kliff Klingsbury, 33.
 
Coach Age (Date of Birth)
P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan, 32 (11-29-80)
Matt Campbell, Toledo, 33 (11-29-79)
Kliff Klingsbury, Texas Tech, 33 (8-9-79)
Bryan Harsin, Arkansas State, 36 (11-1-76)
Willie Taggart, South Florida, 36 (8-27-76)
 
ERIC FISHER FIRST MAC PLAYER SELECTED NO. 1 OVERALL IN NFL DRAFT
Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher became the first MAC football player to be selected as the overall No. 1 selection in the NFL Draft. The Kansas City Chiefs selected Fisher as No. 1 in the 2013 NFL Draft in New York City’s Radio City Music Hall.  The previous highest player drafted from the MAC was Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich, who was selected No. 7 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, in the 2003 NFL Draft. The last player from Central Michigan selected in the first round was offensive tackle Joe Staley (No. 28 overall) by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2007 NFL Draft. Staley last season was a part of the NFC Champion 49ers and started at left tackle in the Super Bowl and was selected to the Pro Bowl.
 
Fisher becomes the third MAC athlete to be selected overall as the No. 1 selection in a professional draft. Previously, Akron forward Steve Zakuani was the first selection in the 2009 Major League Soccer’s SuperDraft by the Seattle Sounders FC on January 15, 2009. Also, Ball State all-American pitcher Bryan Bullington was the No. 1 overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft on June 4, 2002.
 
SEVEN MAC RUNNING BACKS TOP 1,000 YARDS IN 2012
The 2012 season was highlighted by the return of the 1,000 yard rusher in MAC offenses. Seven different players recorded over 1,000 yards rushing for the first time since the 2005 season. The MAC had ten different backs top the 1,000-yard plateau during the 2002 season.
 
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch ranked fourth in the nation in rushing and his 1,815 yards rushing are fifth most in a single-season in conference history, however the most by a quarterback. Lynch joins MAC rushing QBs topping the 1,000-yard rushing mark in a single season: Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois (1,379, 2011); Julian Edelman, Kent State (1,370, 2008); Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan (1,122, 2007); Joshua Cribbs, Kent State (1,057, 2002; 1,019, 2001).
 
2012 MAC 1,000 Yard Rushers
Yards, Player, School, (carries-touchdowns)
1,815, Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois (294-19)
1,604, Beau Blankenship, Ohio (312-15)
1,498, David Fluellen, Toledo (259-13)
1,492, Zurlon Tipton, Central Michigan (252-19)
1,429, Dri Archer, Kent State (159-16)
1,410, Jahwan Edwards, Ball State (232-14)
1,316, Trayion Durham, Kent State (276-14)
 
MAC WINS OVER NON-CONFERENCE FBS OPPONENTS
The MAC set the conference single season record with 16 wins over FBS non-conference opponents in 2012. Dating back to the 2000 season, the previous mark for MAC’s number of wins vs. opponents from other FBS conferences was 14 regular season wins during the 2008 season. The 16 non-conference regular season wins against opponents from the other FBS conferences and FBS independents, including wins over Big Ten, Big East, Big 12, Conference USA, Mountain West, WAC and Independent opponents.
 
2013 NON-CONFERENCE REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
For the sixth year in a row, league schools will face a formidable non-conference slate of opponents from the following Football Bowl Subdivision conferences – ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC. In addition, the conference will also face opponents from the Big East, Conference USA, Mountain West, Sun Belt and Independents--Army and Navy. MAC programs will face eight non-conference foes that finished in the final AP Top 25 poll: (3) Ohio State; (9) Florida; (12) Kansas State; (13) Louisville; (14) LSU; (17) Northwestern; (23) Vanderbilt and (24) Michigan. MAC champion
Northern Illinois was ranked No. 22 in the final AP Top 25 poll.
 
A total of 13 non-conference games will feature an opponent from the Big Ten (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa (2), Michigan (2), Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State (2), Purdue and Wisconsin). The MAC will match up with a foe from the SEC (6—Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Vanderbilt), Big 12 (2—Baylor, Kansas State)
and ACC (2—North Carolina State, Virginia).
 
The MAC will also face opponents from the Big East (5— Central Florida, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers), Mountain West (1—UNLV), Conference USA (5—Marshall (2), North Texas (2), Tulsa) and Sun Belt Conferences (2—Louisiana-Lafayette, South Alabama).
 
MAC FBS FOOTBALL COACHES--CURRENT & FORMER COACHES
Two more MAC football coaches have been promoted to new opportunities within FBS. Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren was named head coach at North Carolina State on Dec. 1 and Kent State’s Darrell Hazell was named head coach at Purdue on Dec. 5. Doeren and Hazell have joined the lengthy list of former MAC head coaches currently at head coaching positions within FBS. There are 13 former head coaches from the MAC in a current FBS head coaching position–including nearly half of the Big Ten (five total) and both coaches in both the 2013 BCS Championship Game – Alabama’s Nick Saban (Toledo) and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly (Central Michigan).
 
For the 2013 season, 26 of the 124 FBS coaches (21%) will be either current or former MAC head coaches.
 
Big Ten – Urban Meyer-Ohio State (Bowling Green), Brady Hoke-Michigan (Ball State), Jerry Kill-Minnesota (Northern Illinois), Tim Beckman-Illinois (Toledo), Darrell Hazell-Purdue (Kent State)
Ind. – Brian Kelly-Notre Dame (Central Michigan)
SEC-Nick Saban-Alabama (Toledo), Gary Pinkel-Missouri (Toledo), Butch Jones-Tennessee (Central Michigan)
ACC-Al Golden-Miami (Temple), Steve Addazio-Boston College (Temple), Dave Doeren-NC State (Northern Illinois), Jim Grobe-Wake Forest (Ohio).