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Local Sports News

Monday, 5 December, 2011 10:09 PM

N. Illinois to take on OU at MAC Championship Friday at Ford Field

Western Michigan and Purdue in Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Photo graphic by Mike Naylor

Western Michigan has punch on offense and defense with wide-reciever Jordan White and defensive tackle Drew Novak respectively. The Broncos will be at Ford Field for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on December 27.

 

by Raymond Rolak
AmericaJR.com Web Team

 

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DETROIT -- With only five seconds remaining at Ford Field for the Mid-American Conference Championship the ball was centered, spotted and kicked as Northern Illinois screamed back erasing a 20 point deficit. The kick was good and Northern Illinois beat Ohio 23-20.
It was long-snapper Brian Mayer shooting the ball back to holder Ryan Neir and kicker Mathew Sims following through perfectly to make the winning field goal.

The winning 33 yard kick by Sims, a sophomore, brought heartbreak to the Bobcats. It was the last play of the game. Ohio had played an outstanding first half. Everything changed NIU way in the second half with senior wide-receiver Nathan Palmer being named game MVP. He had two touchdown catches and 132 all-purpose yards.

The crowd was sparse but the intense game action kept Ford Field ‘hot’. It was redemption for NIU as they lost last year in the Championship tilt on a last second field goal against Miami.

A first half sizzling performance by Ohio sophomore QB Tyler Tettleton vanished in the second half as the Bobcats went into an offensive deep freeze.

The Huskies dominated in the last seven minutes. The comeback was generated by the clutch quarterbacking of NIU senior Chandler Harnish who went 16-26-1 for 250 yards and three TD passes. Harnish had been named MAC Conference Player-of-the-Year the day before and has now thrown for 26 Touchdowns on the year. It has been quite a ride so far for first year head coach Dave Doeren. “We have been through so much this season. These guys know how to come back,” added Doeren.

The Huskies (10-3) will now go to the goDaddy.com Bowl on January 8, 2012 in Mobile, Alabama and face Arkansas State (10-2) the champions of the Sun Belt Conference. It is the fourth year in a row that NIU is going to a Bowl game.

The Western Michigan Broncos (7-5) accepted the MAC bid to play in the 2011 Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl on Tuesday December 27, at Ford Field.  Kickoff is planned for 4:30 p.m. EST. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN. Their Big Ten opponent will be Purdue (6-6).

Director of Athletics for WMU Kathy Beauregard said, “On behalf of the 114,500 alumni living in Michigan we are pleased to accept the invitation to play in Detroit on December 27. It is definitely a great day to be a Bronco.” Western Michigan has three elite players ranked nationally. Included are wide-receiver Jordan White, quarterback Alex Carder and defensive tackle Drew Novak. Novak, a senior who goes at 6’4” and 295 was MAC Defensive Player-of-the-Year.

In other MAC related post season games, Temple (8-4) will travel to Albuquerque to face Wyoming (8-4) on December 17, in the GILDAN-New Mexico Bowl.

Ohio (9-4) also gets another game as they will now go to Boise for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and match-up with Utah State (7-5) also on December 17.

The high octane offense of Toledo (8-4) will go to Washington D.C. and face off with Air Force (7-5) on December 28, in the Military Bowl.

Related Story: N. Illinois to take on OU at MAC Championship Friday at Ford Field

 

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