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2014 MAC Title Goes to NIU


Mid-American Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher presents the 2014 Marathon Mid-American Conference Championship game trophy to Northern Illinois University Head Coach Rod Carey and his team after their 51-17 title win over Bowling Green State University at Ford Field.  BGSU had bested NIU last year in the MAC championship.       Photo by Lars Hjelmroth, Detroit Photo Company

By Raymond Rolak



 DETROIT--  Northern Illinois University pulled away in the second half with 24 straight points to take a 51-17 win over Bowling Green State University in the 2014 Marathon Mid-American Conference Championship game at Ford Field.  This was the fifth straight MAC championship game for NIU.  

This year’s MAC title tilt was a rematch of last season’s championship game, when BGSU bested 14th ranked NIU, 47-27.

The glowing standout stats for NIU were 552 total yards while converting 10 of 19 third down attempts for first downs.  They also forced four turnovers by BGSU.  The Falcons didn’t have the dominant defense that last season’s squad demonstrated. 

It was still a game at halftime with NIU up, 20-10.  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.  He also rushed for 65 yards on 12 carries.  He was sacked twice.

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 77 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.”

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 pairings will be announced Sunday evening on television.

Recently, the Mid-American Conference announced a four-year contract extension to continue playing its championship football game at Ford Field.  The MAC will host its Marathon MAC Football Championship Game in Detroit through the 2019 football season.  It is a neutral site for the conference teams.

“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.”

Post season awards included P.J. Fleck of Western Michigan as being named Coach of the Year. Western Michigan running back Jarvion Franklin was named both MAC Freshman of the Year and also MAC Offensive Player of the Year.  Franklin set the MAC single-season rushing record with 1,525-yards and scored 24-rushing touchdowns.  Miami senior defensive back Quinten Rollins was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year.  Ball State kicker Scott Secor was named the Special teams Player of the Year and Toledo’s offensive lineman Greg Mancz was awarded the Vern Smith Leadership Award Winner.