2012 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game -- Northern Illinois vs. Kent State
Friday, November 30, 7:00 pm ET, Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
ESPN2; Announcers: Carter Blackburn, Rod Gilmore, Jemele Hill
The 2012 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game will feature the West Division Champion Northern Illinois Huskies and the East Division Champion Kent State Golden Flashes on Friday, Nov. 30 at 7 pm ET in front of a national television audience on ESPN2 from Detroit’s Ford Field. This contest will mark the 16th annual championship game for the MAC and will mark the ninth neutral site game at Ford Field.
Northern Illinois clinched the West Division with a 31-24 win over Toledo on Nov. 14 and ended the regular season with a 49-7 win at Eastern Michigan on Nov. 23 to improve to 11-1 overall, 8-0 in the MAC. The Huskies will be making their third consecutive trip to Detroit as West Division Champions. Last season, Northern Illinois claimed their first conference football championship in 28 years (since 1983) with a 23-20 win over Ohio.
Kent State clinched the East Division with a 31-24 win at Bowling Green on Nov. 17 and concluded the regular season with a 28-6 win over Ohio to improve to 11-1 overall, 8-0 in the MAC. This is the first MAC East Division Championship for the program as the Flashes are off to the program’s best record in 90 years. This marks the first 8-0 team from the MAC East since Miami in 2003.
MAC News and Notes
• Kent State is ranked No. 17 and Northern Illinois ranked No. 21 in the current BCS Standings. The 2012 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game will be the first since 2003 with both teams ranked nationally in the Top 25.
• The MAC has seven programs bowl eligible -- Northern Illinois (11-1), Kent State (11-1), Ball State (9-3), Toledo (9-3), Ohio (8-4), Bowling Green (8-4) and Central Michigan (6-6).
• There are six teams from the MAC with eight wins or more this year for the first time in MAC history. These teams have a combined 56-16 record.
• This will be the third consecutive visit for Northern Illinois to the Marathon MAC Championship Game. For Kent State this will mark the program’s first appearance in Detroit.
• Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch ranks third in the nation in total offense with 4,361 yards (363.42 ypg), fifth in rushing with 1,611 yards (134.25 ypg) and 12th in passing efficiency with 2,750 yards and 23 touchdowns for a 157.34 rating. His accomplishments for college football’s highest honor are available at www.
• Kent State became the first team in the MAC East to go 8-0 since the 2003 season. Kent State’s 10-game winning streak and 11 total wins this year are the best in school history.
Northern Illinois (11-1, 8-0), MAC West Division Champions:
Northern Illinois makes its third-straight postseason trip to Detroit’s Ford Field for the Mid-American Conference Championship game where the 11-1 Huskies will take on the 11-1 Kent State Golden Flashes Friday night, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
• Northern Illinois earned its highest ranking since 2003 as the Huskies are ranked No. 18 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and No. 19 in the Associated Press Poll this week.
• NIU will take on No. 18 (AP)/No. 19 (USA Today) Kent State Friday in Detroit as the MAC West Champion Huskies make their third consecutive appearance in the Marathon MAC Championship Game.
• Overall, Northern Illinois has won a school-record 11 consecutive games for the second-longest winning streak in the nation; the Huskies are the only NCAA FBS team to win 20 of their last 21 games.
• Northern Illinois takes the longest conference winning streak in the country (16 games) into the Kent State game.
• The Huskies have won a school-record 11 regular season games to match the school-record win total of the 2010 and 2011 NIU teams.
• NIU Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch is the most productive dual threat quarterback in the nation with 2,750 passing and 1,611 rushing yards
with 39 TDs (responsible for). He ranks third in the country in total offense, fifth in rushing and 12th in passing efficiency.
• Lynch has set a new NCAA record for most consecutive 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback with 10 and needs 92 yards to break the record for
most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback.
• NIU defensive lineman Nabal Jefferson - who owns a 3.78 GPA in accountancy - won a 2012 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award, presented
to the top 15 student-athletes in all of college football; the Huskies lead the country with four CoSIDA Academic All-District picks.
• The Huskies are one play away from 12-0 as Iowa scored its lone touchdown of the season-opener on a 23- yard run on third-and-nine with 2:15
to play, giving the Hawkeyes a 18-17 victory over NIU.
• Over the last 10 years, NIU is the winningest program in the Mid-American Conference (89-50, 64.0%) and lead all area FBS teams in wins.
• NIU is scoring 40.5 points/game while giving up only 17.5.
Kent State (11-1, 8-0), MAC East Division Champions
How Times Have Changed:
The Golden Flashes have accomplished in two seasons (16 wins) what once took 12 years. In a 12- season span from 1989-2000, Kent State combined for only 16 wins (16-115-1).
Since Last Year:
From 2011 to 2012, No FBS team has made a bigger turnaround in the win column than Kent State. Only Ohio State and Middle Tennessee have matched the Golden Flashes’ with having six more wins than last year’s total.
Prior to Nov. 11, Kent State was only ranked in the AP Poll one other time in school history. Last week, the Flashes were in the BCS standings for the first time in school history. This week, Kent State’s No. 17 ranking is program’s highest and higher than any other non-BCS conference program. The Flashes first ranking came in November of 1973, leading up to No. 19 Kent State hosting No. 17 Miami in front of Dix Stadium’s largest crowd ever. Prior to Rutgers, the Flashes had never beaten a ranked team in 22 tries.
Facts In A Flash
• Kent State is the first East Division team to go 8-0 in MAC play since 2003 (Miami). It is also the Flashes’ first East title since the MAC split into divisions in 1997.
• The Golden Flashes carry a program record, 10-game winning streak and have won 12 straight games against current MAC teams.
• Kent State’s No. 17 ranking in the BCS Standings is its highest in school history in any poll.
• At 11-1, the Flashes have shattered the 90-year program record for victories in a season set by the (Don) James Gang (9-2) in 1973.
• Kent State and NIU are among five FBS teams to have won 15 of its last 17 games overall.
• The Flashes rank second in the FBS with a +20 turnover margin and 35 turnovers gained.
• Kent State ranks 11th in the FBS in rushing offense. Over their last eight contests, the Flashes are averaging 276.2 rushing yards a game.
• Junior Dri Archer leads the nation in kick return average, is fifth in all-purpose yards and tied for ninth in scoring. He is Kent State’s single season recordholder in touchdowns with 21.
• Behind freshman Anthony Melchiori, KSU ranks 14th in the nation in net punting (40.1).
• The offensive line has allowed just three sacks in the last eight games.
• Sophomore Trayion Durham is tied with Archer for the team lead with 14 rushing touchdowns.
• Junior Roosevelt Nix is second among active FBS players in career tackles for loss (51.0), ranks fourth in forced fumbles (10) and 15th in sacks (20.0).